EU releases additional €25.5 million –

The European Commission will allocate an additional €25.5 million to support several African countries in mitigating the effects of the unprecedented food crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The released funds, which the EU executive announced on Thursday (12 January), will mainly be used to strengthen social protection systems and key measures such as food assistance, nutrition, water sanitation and hygiene.

Between soaring food, feed and fertilizer prices and trade disruptions, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves through the global agribusiness sector, hitting vulnerable countries hard, including many African nations facing food insecurity.

The war in Ukraine also complicated relations between the EU and Africa, leading for example to the postponement of major summits between the EU and the African Union (AU). Moreover, the fallout from this war is likely to continue to dominate EU-Africa relations in the coming months.

Meanwhile, the funds disbursed will also be used in conflict areas to support recently displaced populations and the communities hosting them.

Algeria, Cameroon and Chad could receive 2 million euros from the new fund, while 4 million euros are planned for the Central African Republic and 5.5 million euros for South Africa and the United States.

However, it is Sudan that should receive most of the funds as 10 million euros will be made available for that. Indeed, in November 2022, the United Nations warned that the Sudanese people risk starvation if humanitarian aid is not maintained and if climate change adaptation measures are not strengthened.

EU-Africa relations: costs of Russia’s war in Ukraine

The most recent EU-Africa (AU) summit, held in Brussels last February, should have marked the beginning of a new push for ” equal partnershipbetween the two organizations, but the reality is very different.

In a statement, European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said that the European Union “continues to show solidarity with Africa and continues its efforts to address the global impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine, but also the consequences of local conflicts and displacement”.

“In several African countries, millions of people face food insecurity and are on the verge of starvation”he noted, before adding that, in other parts of the continent, the effects of the food crisis are “exacerbated by deteriorating security situation and escalation of violence, causing internal displacement and loss of livelihoods, for example in Sudan”.

At the same time, he points out that extreme climate events are causing other displacements in countries like Cameroon.

“The additional EU-approved funding will help our humanitarian partners deliver aid to those most in need across the continent”said the commissioner.

Moreover, according to the draft EU priority action plan for 2023-2024 aimed at strengthening the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), the EU plans to include Ukraine in future discussions with the AU on global food security.

The leaked draft said the Commission“will explore opportunities for informal dialogue and cooperation, for example, to address food security issues in Africa”.

“This could be done, for example, by involving Ukraine in the forthcoming dialogue between the EU and the African Union on global food security or by coordinating positions [sur la question] in international organizations”we can read in the document.

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