NAIROBI, June 4 — The Russia-Ukraine crisis will hurt Africa’s agricultural and energy sectors which are crucial for the continent’s economic development, a senior pan-African bank official said on Friday.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) told journalists in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, that the crisis could reduce Africa’s annual food production by between 20-50 per cent due to scarcity of key agricultural inputs.
“The continent imports about two million metric tons of fertilizers per year from Russia and Ukraine. So what that means is that if we don’t take action, the food production itself would decline by between 20 and 50 per cent. So clearly, we are looking at a potential food crisis,” Adesina said.
The AfDB official, who has been in Kenya for a four-day visit, said that the continent’s food security challenges will be further compounded as imports of agricultural products will also be negatively affected.
He revealed that Africa is likely to lose the approximately 30 million tons of maize, wheat and soybeans that are imported annually from both Russia and Ukraine.
According to Adesina, in response to the looming food crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine crisis, it has rolled out the African Emergency Food Production Facility to boost the continent’s capacity to produce its own food.
He said that the Russia-Ukraine crisis has also negatively impacted the energy prices in Africa which will have a tendency of slowing down the region’s economic growth.
“So you look at energy prices today and they have gone up through the roof. So the oil-importing countries are facing a higher import bill,” he added.
The AfDB official revealed that the crisis has also disrupted global supplies and logistics as freight costs have gone up tremendously.
“So you are going to find that in literally almost every sector and for development projects that have been funded, you are going to see a lot of slowing down on that because people just can’t get things, equipment and stuff like that out,” he observed.
According to Adesina, the impact of the Russia-Ukraine crisis is going to be quite serious.
“And I don’t expect the impact of this war to be a passing thing. I will just say, Oh, no, wake up next year, and I expect that this probably will be gone. The impact will be with us for at least five years. Because you will have to rebuild even after the crisis,” Adesina noted.
He said that African countries that export goods to Russia and Ukraine will also be affected due to the closure of the markets. (Xinhua)
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