Saturday, 10th June 2023

Tall, stately and clad in brightly coloured fabrics that stand out against the arid landscape, the women at a U.N. food distribution site in Jonglei state, South Sudan, wait patiently in line in the stifling heat to receive their monthly rations.

“My life changed since [South Sudan’s 2011] independence. Now I’m getting aid – things are better,” Rebecca Akeer, aged in her 50s, said outside her simple mud hut as aid workers handed out large sacks of grains.

But Akeer and others in a war-torn African nation could soon see the knock-on effects of a distant European war, with analysts wondering if China can dampen the anticipated impact that international sanctions against Russia will have on the African continent.

Food insecurity

The conflict in Ukraine and resulting sanctions on Russia are driving up global oil and food prices, which could lead to increased hunger in Africa, and even more unrest, analysts said.

“We are heading for a disruption,” said Steven Gruzd, a Russia expert and foreign policy analyst at the South Africa Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg.

“The price of bread is going to go up. It sometimes brings people into the streets,” he added, noting that the revolution in neighboring Sudan basically began as a 2018 bread riot.

“I think food insecurity will be a massive consequence of this war.”

Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, and Ukraine ranks fifth. Countries in North Africa, such as Egypt, Russia’s top Africa trade partner, are expected to especially feel the impact of the sanctions. Tunisia has said it is already looking elsewhere for wheat supplies.

“When looking at the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on global food security, in a year of unprecedented humanitarian needs, WFP is extremely concerned as the conflict may have far-reaching consequences,” Claudio Altorio, a World Food Program spokesperson, told VOA.


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