African Union Chair Meets Putin to Discuss Food Insecurity

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Nairobi, Kenya — The top African Union official met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday to discuss the war in Ukraine and its effects on Africa. A cutoff in grain exports has heightened food insecurity in many African countries, leaving millions of Africans hungry.

Senegalese President Macky Sall met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Sochi Friday to discuss the war in Ukraine and the effect it’s having on Africa’s 1.3 billion people.

Before the war, the continent annually imported about 30 million tons of wheat and maize from Russia and Ukraine. The war has greatly reduced the exports and sparked a global increase in food and fuel prices.

At Friday’s meeting, Sall, the current African Union chairperson, urged Putin to be aware that African countries are “victims” of the Ukraine conflict, according to the French news agency. He said food supplies should be “outside” of Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over Ukraine.

Speaking to journalists in Nairobi, Africa Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, said the rise in oil prices caused by the war is also hurting Africa’s economy.

“You look at the energy prices today, energy prices have gone up to the roof of course which benefits all the exporting countries but you, for example, Kenya, you spend a lot of money importing fuel,” Adesina said. “So fuel made importing countries suffer as a result of that which has a tendency to slow down economic growth.”

Adesina also lamented the Russian blockade of ships in the Black Sea, which is holding back millions of tons of Ukrainian grain meant for other countries, including some in Africa.