African leaders welcome grain exports deal between Ukraine & Russia

Published: July 23, 2022

Intergovernmental Authority on Development congratulates all parties involved in Russia, Ukraine agreement.

Regional blocs and NGO leaders in Africa hailed the deal signed Friday in Istanbul to allow Ukrainian grain exports to resume.

“We welcome the deal and look forward to its speedy implementation. We congratulate all those involved in the mediation process,” Secretary-General spokesman Nuur Mohamud Sheekh told Anadolu Agency about the agreement between Ukraine and Russia.

He said the East African bloc was among the first multilateral institutions that called for talks.

IGAD Executive Secretary General Workneh Gebeyehu congratulated teams from the two countries and the Turkish government, AU and the UN for the roles they played in the process.

The African continent has been affected by the Russia-Ukraine war but the IGAD region has been the worst affected because of a prolonged drought that has devastated the region.

The IGAD said Friday that food insecurity in the region is one of the worst ever experienced, with 50 million people affected by the drought. More than 7 million livestock have been also lost in the IGAD region, it said.

In Somalia, more than 7.1 million people have been affected while nearly 1 million are displaced by the drought.

Ebba Kalondo, spokesman for the head of the African Union said: the “world rightly lauds the agreement signed today in Istanbul for the safe passage of Russia & Ukraine cereals,” adding that the continental group deserves credit for making the proposal to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hailed the deal.

“Today’s agreement on allowing commercial food exports from ports in Ukraine through the Black Sea brings hope for the region and vulnerable people on the edge of famine,” it said. “We will spare no effort to ensure its success.”

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomed the lifting of the Black Sea blockade where it said 20 million tons of wheat are being held.

The blockades contributed to the growing global hunger crisis, especially in East Africa, with countries relying on Russia and Ukraine for more than 90% of their wheat imports, it said.

“The lifting of these blockades will go some way in easing the extreme hunger that over 18 million people in East Africa are facing, with 3 million already facing catastrophic hunger conditions. The global impacts of the war in Ukraine have meant food and fuel prices have spiraled out of control – especially in countries already suffering from conflict and extreme drought. The next and significant step must be fully funding the humanitarian response in the region, to stave off the worst impacts of the drought and prevent a catastrophic, unprecedented famine from fully engulfing the region by the end of the summer,” according to IRC’s East Africa Emergency Director Shashwat Saraf.

With the mediation of Türkiye and the UN, Ukraine and Russia signed the agreement to resume Ukraine’s grain shipments from Black Sea ports.

Under the deal, a coordination center will be established to conduct joint inspections at entrances and exits of harbors and to ensure the safety of the routes.

Internationally praised for its role, Türkiye coordinated with Moscow and Kyiv to open a corridor from the Ukrainian port city of Odesa to resume global grain shipments that were stuck due to the war, now in its fifth month.

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