Food Security: The Consequences of Ukrainian Russian Conflict for the Mediterranean and Africa | (dot)security
(dot)security | A space by JACOPO FRANCESCHINI
The Russian invasion of Ukraine unleashed many challenges for global security. Military, geopolitical, and migration security appear as evident and immediate threats. Besides them are emerging worrying forecasts about global food security, which will show their effect in the medium long term. Sanctions over Russia and the destruction of agricultural infrastructures in Ukraine deeply weakened the wheat production of Moscow and Kyiv, two of the most prominent global wheat exporters.
MENA region and Africa’s food security will be heavily affected by the conflict in Ukraine. According to the Observatory of Economic Complexities (EOC), Mediterranean Arab countries such as Lebanon (54%) and Egypt (52,2%) were importing more than half of their wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine in 2019. In the same period, Turkey’s imports from Russia represented 17% of all its wheat imports. Other North African countries relied on Ukraine for their wheat import, Tunisia (40%) and Morocco (5,7%).
Food security concerns appear more worrying when analyzing the imports from Russia and Ukraine in Africa. Here dependence on wheat from Russian and Ukrainian imports represents a consistent part of all their imports for most of the countries, surpassing 50% of the total in many cases.
The protraction of the conflict is making developing new alternatives for African and Mediterranean countries to guarantee their wheat imports. The best options for big importers are represented by increasing imports from countries such as the USA or developing and boosting its domestic agricultural production. Nevertheless, both options require time and long-term investment while food security remains an immediate threat.