International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the war in Ukraine comes “at a delicate time for Africa,” which is particularly vulnerable to economic aftershocks.
“Africa is particularly vulnerable to impacts from the Ukraine war through four main channels—increased food prices, higher fuel prices, lower tourism revenues, and potentially more difficulty accessing international capital markets,” Georgieva said in a statement published on Thursday.
Georgieva urged the international community and African policymakers to come together to address policy responses.
“Redoubling efforts to advance reforms that further promote resilience is a priority for many countries. At this difficult moment, the Fund stands ready to help African countries address the repercussions of the war, and to help design and implement reforms through our policy advice, capacity development, and lending. Recent reforms to the Fund’s lending toolkit provide greater flexibility to help meet financing needs,” she said.
More background: Russia and Ukraine are key players in the global agricultural trade, with both nations accounting for a quarter of the world's wheat exports, including at least 14% of corn exports in 2020, and a joint 58% of global sunflower oil exports in the same year, analyses show.
Trade between African countries and the former Soviet neighbors, especially Russia, has flourished in recent years with Russian exports to the continent valued at $14 billion annually, and imports from Africa pegged at around $5 billion per year.
But parts of Africa could be plunged into hunger in as fast as three months if Russia's invasion of Ukraine lingers, said Wandile Sihlobo, the chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa.
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CNN's Nimi Princewill contributed reporting to this post.