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World Bank report analyses implications of the Ukraine-Russia conflict for Sub-Saharan Africa

The latest edition of the World Bank Africa’s Pulse, the biannual analysis of the near-term macroeconomic outlook for Africa, analyses the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine on Sub-Saharan Africa. The report notes that since the conflict has started, international prices of wheat and maize have increased of 40 percent, due to the supply disruptions from these two economies, that represent among the world’s larger producers of such agricultural commodities. Similarly, crude oil and natural gas, iron ore and aluminum prices have grown respectively by 39, 31, 33 and 21 percent, respectively, from January to March 2022, being Russia a major world exporter of such products. The increase in the international price of such commodities has hit many African economies, that have witnessed an upsurge in consumer prices of all these products.

In addition, trade embargoes and financial sanctions applied by the international community on Russia have further pushed up the prices of the above commodities in those countries that are more import-dependent from these economies, especially in Western and Central Africa (e.g., in Togo, that is indicated in the report as the largest import-dependent country in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly from Russia, while Ghana is a major importer of Ukrainians products).

In terms of aggregated imports, Russia and Ukraine represent only 1.3 percent of total imports in Sub-Saharan Africa (of which, 1.0 percent comes from Russia and 0.3 percent from Ukraine), Sub-Saharan Africa imports from Russia and Ukraine mainly cereals (more specifically, wheat), edible oils (especially sunflower seed oil), and fertilizers. In 2020, Sub-Saharan African imports of cereals from Russia and Ukraine accounted for 15.3 percent (11.4 percent from Russia and 3.9 percent from Ukraine), with a share of more than 25 percent of their total cereal imports in five countries, namely: the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.

The World Bank report also warns that soaring commodity prices, especially for fuel and food commodities, will cause a further growth of inflation in Africa, that was always increasing in several low- and middle-income Sub-Saharan African countries already before the commencement of the conflict, due to supply chain disruptions, high transportation costs, and devastating weather effects from floods and droughts, etc. So far, the Sus-Saharan economies that have faced the highest rates of food inflation since the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict are Sudan, Ethiopia, Angola, and Kenya.





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