According to President Sally, it has become imperative to end the blockade now, in order to forestall an impending famine.
While speaking to Mo Ibrahim on Wednesday during the Ibrahim Governance Forum, the Senegalese President observed that Russia's war on Ukraine has destabilised Africa's food supply. This has consequently led to soaring food prices, a situation he said would become very disastrous if it persists.
“The world would not be able to contain the consequences because it would be massive on immigration. It would be dramatic for African countries.
"We have pleaded for a ceasefire, for an end to the war and for the release of all food products, so that the world doesn’t know a famine after two years of COVID and almost three months of war... There are multiple initiatives to call on countries that have (grain) stocks to liberate them. And to ensure that Russia can authorize the export of cereals from Ukraine and can also export itself. This is the African position,” President Sally said.
So, he would be visiting both Kyiv and Moscow in his capacity as AU Chairman to try and resolve the conflict, restore peace and end the blockade.
Many African countries rely on wheat exports from Russia and Ukraine to augment their food sources. Both Both European countries are among the world's largest wheat producers. Unfortunately, the war has made it impossible for Ukraine to export its grains due to Russia's blockade of Odessa where Ukrainian ports are located.
Wheat is a widely-consumed staple across the African continent. Sadly, the conflict has disrupted supply, thereby causing food prices to skyrocket to levels never before seen. Sadly, this is happening at a time when African countries are trying to recover from the devastating impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Rising energy costs, which is also direct economic fallout of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, has also exacerbated the food crisis on the continent. That's because energy costs have a direct impact on consumer prices, as companies tend to increase the prices of their products whenever energy costs go up; in a bid to recoup costs.