THE leaders of South Africa and Ivory Coast have welcomed a deal signed by Ukraine and Russia allowing wheat and maize to be exported from Ukrainian ports.
It is the first major agreement involving the Moscow and Kyiv governments since the conflict began in February – and aims to bring down the high price of grain, and restore supplies to countries currently suffering food shortages.
Speaking in Pretoria at a news conference with his Ivorian counterpart, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the blockade of grain had forced African leaders to think seriously about food supplies in the future.
“Our continued reliance on massive amounts of grains from that part of the world, should be seen as a risk and a real danger to African countries’ 1.3 billion people. We therefore need to use this conflict as a wake-up call.”
President Alassane Ouattara, who is on a state visit to South Africa, insisted that Africa must be top of the list of grain recipients.
The Ivorian leader said he was pleased to see that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to sign the proposal, under the auspices of the UN and Turkey.
“I also indicated to [Ukraine’s] President Volodymyr Zelensky that I wanted the supply to be made a priority for the African continent, because of the fragility of its economies and the social situation in many countries,” he said. – bbc.com