Zelensky to Africa: It’s your war, too
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.
The background: 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.