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Africa bearing brunt of Russia-Ukraine war - Lecturer

BY: Augustina Tawiah
Dr Abdul-Jalilu Ateku, Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, addressing participants in the lecture. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI
Dr Abdul-Jalilu Ateku, Political Science Lecturer at the University of Ghana, addressing participants in the lecture. Picture: ESTHER ADJORKOR ADJEI

The Russian-Ukraine war has affected African countries in various ways, including security, economics, agriculture and food sectors, a lecturer in International Relations at the Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Dr Abdul-Jalilu Ateku, has said.

In terms of food security, he said, if the war was allowed to continue, either the prices of foods such as bread would further go up or there would not be ingredients to prepare them.

That, the lecturer explained, was because Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 30 per cent of wheat export in the world.

"South Africa, for instance, imports 30 per cent of wheat from Russia, which is also the second largest exporter of wheat to Nigeria so the crises will disrupt the supply. Egypt gets 80 per cent of their wheat import from Russia and Ukraine and because of this war, food prizes had soared in Egypt, especially bread. So the impact of the war on the continent will include high prices of bread, noodles and biscuits,"

Occasion

Dr Ateku, who was speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic, added that Russia ranked second only to Saudi Arabia as the largest exporter of oil and the fourth largest exporter of gas after the USA, Qatar and Algeria.

He, therefore, said that it was imperative that the African Union, together with countries that had not taken sides in the war to join the rest of the world to deepen engagement with the protagonists to end the war.

The interview followed a lecture he delivered the same day on the Russia-Ukraine war, which was organised by the Centre for European Studies of the university.

The lecture, which was on the topic, "Understanding the Russian-Ukrainian war beyond the geo-political explanations", was largely attended by members of the university community and representatives of foreign missions in the country.

Terrorism

Dr Ateku posited that if the crisis was not dealt with expeditiously, it could lead to the proliferation of a “black market” of arms which he said had “its own security implications in Africa, especially the sahel.”

"Whatever is happening in Russia will have a significant impact in these regions so far as terrorism is concerned. The African Union should not be silent. The silence is too loud. They are part of the leadership of the world so they should come out.

“The United States and the West have taken sides in the war so they are already compromised, but the AU and some world leaders have not, they should come together to engage both Russia and Ukraine and I believe that will help," he said.

Earlier in his lecture, Dr Ateku mentioned the root causes of the war to be the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation's (NATO) eastward expansion, European Union's eastward expansion, the Orange Revolution, Ukraine's miscalculation that the US and the West would get directly involved should a war break out and the failure of the West to make it clear to President Zelensky that a war with Russia would not elicit their direct involvement.

He disagreed with those who were of the view that President Putin was fighting the war in order to re-establish the Soviet Union, saying it was not the situation and that for anybody to think on that line was "like swallowing a hedgehog".

"Russia is still a global power that requires some respect but it feels that it is not getting that respect from the West, therefore, they will do everything to protect it. This is why Putin's personality resonates with the Russian people because they believe that Putin is fighting for their honour," he said.

Rationale

The Director of the Centre for European Studies, Dr Kwame Asah-Asante, said the centre has a mandate to help students understand Europe from various perspectives - economics, politics, law and health, adding that it also formed part of an exercise to build the capacity of students of the university.