Ukraine President, Zelensky Urges Africa To Support It’s Fight Against Russia.
Thursday June 23, 2022
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, lobbied the African Union for support this week. He faced an uphill battle, addressing leaders who have close ties to Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.
Many African governments have shied away from denouncing Russia, abstained from U.N. votes condemning the invasion of Ukraine and characterized the war as having no direct effect on the continent.
Zelensky zeroed in on the conflict’s economic ramifications for Africa: high food prices caused by a war between two of the world’s largest grain producers, which have worsened food insecurity.
“Africa is actually taken hostage,” Zelensky said.
Drought in Somalia and growing food insecurity in the Sahel region have brought into stark focus the consequences of rising prices for food, particularly wheat. The cost of fuel is also climbing, further squeezing the continent’s nascent middle class and urban poor.
Overall, it was subdued. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union chairman, called again for dialogue to end the war, a stark contrast to the enthusiastic audience he afforded to Putin earlier this month. Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, speaking as the rotating political head of the African Union, said this month that sanctions against Russia should end, referring to Putin as his “dear friend Vladimir.”