On 25 May 1963, Africa made history with the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) the precursor to the African Union (AU).
Commemorating the day, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson, among other things acknowledged that Africa’s food security crisis had worsened because of the conflict in Ukraine.
“On this day of celebration of Africa Day (25 May 2022), I am very pleased to express my wishes of health and prosperity to each and every one of you,” said the AU Chairperson, Mahamat. He added, “More recently, Africa has become the collateral victim of a distant conflict, that between Russia and Ukraine. By profoundly upsetting the fragile global geopolitical and geostrategic balance, it has also cast a harsh light on the structural fragility of our economies. The most emblematic sign of these fragilities is the food crisis following the climatic disorders, the health crisis of COVID-19, amplified today by the conflict in Ukraine. This crisis is characterised by a shrinking world supply of agricultural products and soaring inflation of food prices,” he said.
According to Human Rights Watch, before the war in Ukraine, countries in East, West, Middle, and Southern Africa, including Angola, Cameroon, Kenya, and Nigeria, were already grappling with soaring food prices due to extreme climate and weather events such as floods, landslides, and droughts, and the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted production efforts and global supply chains. Since Russia’s invasion, global food prices have since reached new heights. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, increased 12.6 per cent from February to March.
The African Union is confident that African countries can ride out the crisis by working together. “So, what to do in the face of all these challenges?” asks the AU Chairperson before calling on African countries to marshall the same resilience demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Determination and solidarity were clearly demonstrated in the face of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The strong mobilisation of African leaders and the effective coordination provided by the African Union in the Continental Response are testimony to the ability of Africa to face the challenges in a united and resolute manner,” urged Mahamat.