Interview: Russia-Ukraine conflict affects Africa’s wheat, oil importing countries most, says business leader

ADDIS ABABA, April 18 (Xinhua) — The impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict is felt internationally, but it affects wheat and oil importing African countries worst, a business leader has said.

“The Russia-Ukraine conflict has a very significant, a very immediate impact on many African economies that import wheat and other food products from Russia and Ukraine,” said Zemedeneh Negatu, chairman of Fairfax Africa Fund, a Washington-based global investment firm, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

The sanctions by the United States and its allies against Russia have worsened food inflation across the African continent, where the prices of fuel and other commodities are rising rapidly, according to Negatu.

“A majority of African nations are feeling the economic pain caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict as the supply chain has been disrupted by the sanctions,” he said, noting that Russia and Ukraine are the major suppliers of wheat to the continent.

“There are now a lot of restrictions on trading with Russia. So, prices of many items including wheat and steel have gone up as the supply chain from Ukraine and Russia has been disrupted,” he added.

In its latest report, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development revealed that Somalia, Benin, Egypt, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Tanzania are the African countries most affected by the market disruptions caused by the sanctions and the conflict in Ukraine.

Negatu said the Russia-Ukraine conflict has also gravely affected the tourism sector, particularly in northern Africa.

“The tourism business along the Mediterranean Sea has been affected by the conflict and subsequent sanctions. Russian tourists are not coming,” Negatu said.

Meanwhile, Negatu noted a few African oil exporting countries might benefit from higher prices of crude oil.

“It has been a big plus for some oil exporting African nations. So, a few African countries which are net exporters of oil have benefited,” Negatu said.

However, such oil exporters as Nigeria are not exempt from the impact of the ongoing Ukraine crisis as it is incurring high cost to import refined petroleum products, he added.

Post time: May-10-2022