image001 (1)

How The Ukraine Crisis Is Affecting Africa

The Ukraine crisis is likely to aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery, increasing food insecurity, see how.  

SRO-SA Director, Eunice G. Kamwendo, noted that African countries are most affected by the pandemic and the combined impact of the COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis are likely to further aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery. She reminded that as a region Southern Africa contracted the most out of all the sub-regions in Africa due to Covid-19.

 “According to estimates by the African Development Bank (AfDB) the region’s GDP contracted by as much as 6.3% in 2020, compared to a 2.1% recession for the rest of Africa,” said Ms Kamwendo.

She pointed out that Africa faces a high risk of food insecurity because Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers of agricultural commodities such as maize, wheat, oils and fertilizers. “The two countries, combined, provide 30 per cent of the world’s wheat and barley needs; supply nearly one-fifth of maize globally, and account for over half of the global market share in sunflower oil, among other commodities.” 

The United Nations Resident Coordinator, Zahira Virani added that the war in Ukraine is forcing Africa to revisit its strategies. “Angola is leading the side event because Angola is in a unique position of facing adverse impacts and opportunities at the same time”. She said the African Continental Free Trade Area provided a great opportunity for intra trade and new markets for the country.

Angola Minister of Economy and Planning, Mario Augusto Caetano Joao, informed the meeting that to counter shocks Angola has engaged deep reforms and changed its business model by prioritizing local production and diversifying from focus on oil production to heavy investments in agri business, fisheries, and transport to give the country a comparative advantage. 

“Ten years ago, Angola’s oil dependence was 43% and now oil dependency is only 20% showing that the investments are bearing fruit and the country’s economy has stabilized despite the crisis”. 

Southern Africa participants benefited from the exchange of experiences from East Africa. Hon. Amos Lugoloobi, Uganda Minister of State for Finance, Planning and Economic Development encouraged Southern African countries to increase local food production to prevent the dependency on wheat. He gave an example of his country which has increased the production of its staple food and products such as bananas, maize, cassava, palm trees and potatoes. 

Mr Lugoloobi noted that Uganda is a net producer of its food supplies and export to neighbouring countries. The country has also embarked on increasing the production of sunflower oil to counter rising prices and be self-sufficient and able to face shocks.

On policy responses to the Ukraine crisis and COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting listened to three other presenters:  Dr. Yamungu Kayandabila the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania; Mr. Marcos Souto, IMF Country Director in Angola, Dr Eklou Attiogbevi-Somado, Manager for Agriculture and Agro-Industry for West Africa, African Development Bank and Mr. Mtho Xulu, President of South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The meeting, moderated by Joseph Atta-Mensah from ECA’s Macroeconomics and Governance Division, closed with an interactive Question and Answer session involving the panelists, journalists, and representatives of member States African member States,  who reiterated to ECA the importance of the annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (CoM) as a platform that allows stakeholders to debate key issues of relevance to Africa’s development.

Plastic-Bottles-1-1

Plastic Pollution Remains A Huge Problem In Africa- Greenpeace

8 million tons of plastic waste end up in Oceans every year; if the trend continues, there would be more plastic than fish by 2050.

The Greenpeace alarm comes at a time reports have it that plastic is being dumped in the Indian Ocean and Kenyan beaches.  

Greenpeace therefore urges Kenya to implement the ban on single use plastic bags.

‘’Kenyan authorities must commit to improved implementation of the ban on single-use plastic carrier bags and extend the ban to all single-use plastics. We need to envision a future where we do not accept the throwaway culture”, Greenpeace Africa Campaigner, Amos Wemanya

 Plastic pollution presents a major threat to the environment, communities and livelihoods, Amos Wemanya stated.

He suggests that across Africa, plastic pollution remains a serious problem, devastating communities’ health, the environment, and the ecosystem that millions depend on for livelihood.

Plastics are entering our oceans and environments at an unprecedented rate, the Greenpeace campaigner laments. 

To Greenpeace, “Big pieces of plastic choke and entangle species like whales, turtles and seabirds, whilst tiny pieces of plastic are mistaken for food – choking and poisoning marine animals. Our survival and that of the oceans depends on how bold we are prepared to act against plastic pollution”.

“Healthy oceans are essential to all life on earth. Oceans are home to many of the world’s most iconic species, absorb carbon from the atmosphere and provide the main source of protein for over one billion people”, Wemanya suggests.

However, plastic pollution is presenting a major threat to all these functions. Marine animals, birds and sea creatures are at risk. Plastic’s negative impact on the marine is huge. 

‘’There has never been a more important time for the global plastics treaty that Ghana is spearheading because the impact of plastic on our oceans is undeniable. Our government needs to commit support to this treaty at the upcoming ministerial meeting in September. 

‘’Only then can we truly hope that businesses will start to reimagine a model where disposable plastics are eliminated. Eliminating unnecessary and problematic plastic products and packaging such as plastic straws and single-use carrier bags, investing more in reusable and refillable systems would form a lasting solution to the plastic challenge we face today’’, Greenpeace stressed.

It is not only Kenya that needs to take firm actions towards the elimination of plastic waste in water bodies, but also countries like Cameroon where plastic is a big issue.

A report by the United Nations Environment Programme revealed 8 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the Oceans every year.