The Effects of the Russia-Ukrainian War on sub-Saharan Africa

The background to this war can be likened to a refuse dump fire, burning slowly underneath and won’t contemplate it is anything big. But slowly and surely it will burn the whole rubbish before you realize it was a great fire.

Why the War?

Reasons for the war are many but the most obvious is the annexation by Russia of Crimea and the Donbas which were originally part of Ukraine. This led to a revolution by Ukraine in 2014 against Russia over the status of their annexed regions.

In the midst of the revolution the Russian leader frustrated efforts by Ukraine from joining the European Union and NATO which had relations with Ukraine.  He feared Ukraine joining NATO might be a threat to his leadership.

He later accused NATO of bringing war to Crimea against Russia. This has been a basic reason why the Russian leader became antagonistic against the President of Ukraine and has long been planning an attack on him and on 24th February, 2022 actually attacked Ukraine.

Why would this war affect sub-Saharan Africa?

International trade goes on between countries of the world and no country is an island unto itself. Oil-producing countries produce oil and export it to non-oil producing ones for money. It’s like that in other commodities.

Both Russia and Ukraine export some products to some countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Russia exports agro-products like fertilizers, cereals, milling products to Ghana to boost its agribusiness.

Aside of agro-products, commodities like iron and steel are imported from both Russia and Ukraine.

Engaging in war itself gives little or no time for the combatants to plan things like exports. Their focus is on winning the war first and all other things follow later.

The effects of not having iron and steel for industries that depend on these products for their business shall be felt rather later than now.

The US, the UK and other European nations have decided to cut oil imports and place embargoes on Russian exports and all these have negative effect directly or indirectly on the sub-region.

Ongoing Effects

Ghana is already feeling the effects of the war by rising prices of fuel and all other commodities including food. Rising fuel prices give rise to rising transportation costs which in turn give rise to higher prices of commodities.

Prices of fertilizer have risen and farmers cannot afford to buy much. This will affect food production negatively and subsequently there will soon be hunger. Prices of flour have already risen to affect prices of foods made from flour and this is attributed to the war as stocks are depleting without replenishing.

Everybody in Ghana is now complaining about hard life and people look up to government to control things which are beyond its control.

The Vice-President of Ghana, Alhaji Mahamadu Bawumia recently attributed Ghana’s bad economy to the Russian war with Ukraine to which the Russian Ambassador disagreed with the Vice President that the Ghanaian economy was already bad.

That notwithstanding if the rising fuel prices can be attributed to the war then the war is indeed affecting us badly.

Lesson for Africa.

With what is happening currently with this war Africa must learn to be self-reliant and independent. Africans like foreign goods too much and must learn to manufacture and rely on their own products.

A recent research in Ghana proved that Jathropha seeds can produce a substance that can replace diesel and drive cars and farmers were encouraged to plant the seed in abundance. We don’t know where that initiative ended. It would have cushioned this fuel problem if it had not been abandoned.

The Future

According to observers the war may not end soon. With a prolonged war which will possibly attract the involvement of other powers economies of sub-Saharan countries may plunge into disaster.

Food prices will rise astronomically and there will be hunger across the sub-region and other places. This has already been prophesied in the Bible.

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Ebenezer Awuah is a retired clerk who has passion for writing on life issues and topics of enlightenment. Now consultant for transportation business in Ghana. Based at Accra and Koforidua.

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