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The African market is getting hotter

Африканският пазар става все по-горещ

After the USDA announced its intention to invade African markets, the Kremlin showed that it also has plans for the "hot continent".

Russia has sent 50,000 tonnes of wheat to the Central African Republic to avert a potential food crisis after it pulled out of a grain export deal.

In a statement released on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed that this action is part of Russia's commitment to expand humanitarian aid to African nations, as agreed during the Second Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg in July 2023 .

"The unloading of two ships carrying Russian grain was completed at the port in the city of Douala (Cameroon) on January 25," the statement said. "The agreement between Bangui and Yaounde involves processing the grain into flour in Cameroon and then transporting it to the Central African Republic."

The ministry underlined its willingness to contribute to solving urgent humanitarian problems, citing its past assistance to the Central African Republic during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then, the Russian Emergencies Ministry delivered eight tons of medicines and medical supplies in September 2020, followed by a batch of 540 tons of agricultural products in August 2022 as a voluntary contribution to the UN World Food Program (WFP).

In 2023, Russia committed another $2.5 million through WFP for additional food supplies expected to reach the Central African Republic in the coming months.

This initiative is in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin's commitment to prevent a global food crisis. In 2023, President Putin promised to provide six African countries, including the Central African Republic, with 25,000-50,000 tons of grain free of charge, replacing Ukrainian grain exports blocked by Moscow's decision to withdraw from an agreement brokered between Ukraine and Russia from Turkey and the United Nations (UN).

Russia has long complained of obstacles in the export of grain and fertilizers. While there are no direct sanctions against Russian agricultural exports, Moscow says other sanctions discourage international banks, shipping firms and insurers from doing business with Russian producers.

The Kremlin has made several demands, including restoring the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT global payment system, resuming exports of agricultural equipment to Russia, and lifting restrictions on insurance and port access for Russian ships and cargo.

Additional demands from Russia included restarting the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, which would have allowed ammonia to be transported to Ukraine's main Black Sea port, and unblocking assets and accounts of Russian companies involved in food and fertilizer exports.

Many African countries are heavily dependent on Russia and Ukraine for grain imports. Between 90-100 percent of the wheat for Somalia and Eritrea comes from these two countries.

Ukraine and Russia are significant food suppliers, accounting for 29 percent of wheat exports and 80 percent of sunflower exports globally, mainly via the Black Sea.

Ukraine, often referred to as one of the breadbaskets of the world, is a leading supplier of grain to many developing nations. In 2021 alone, the country's grain exports reached $12.2 billion, accounting for almost a fifth of total exports.

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