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Russia-Ukraine crisis highlights Africa’s need to diversify its wheat sources

Published Apr 14, 2022

Tridge summary

The war between Russia and Ukraine has highlighted just how much of the world’s wheat supply relies on these two countries. For instance, a recently released UN report shows a sample of 25 African countries that rely on wheat imports from Russia or Ukraine. Of this group, 21 import most of their wheat from Russia.

Original content

Between 2018 and 2020, Africa imported US$3.7 billion in wheat (32% of the continent’s total wheat imports) from Russia and another US$1.4 billion from Ukraine (12% of the continent’s wheat imports). It’s crucial that African countries diversify their wheat sources for two key reasons. First, wheat forms an important component of diets. Not having enough brings the threat of hunger and political instability. Second, Africa’s dependency on Russian wheat imports will influence key political and military decisions. Given some African countries’ dependence on Russian wheat, it could’ve influenced how they voted on the two United Nations General Assembly resolutions concerning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In both instances, a surprising number of countries either supported Russia or remained neutral. One reason for this could be because they wouldn’t want to upset relations with a good supplier. Over the centuries, the sourcing of wheat has factored into the political and strategic ...
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