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Africa could be hit hard by loss of Ukrainian grain exports

African countries may be hit hard by any continuing halt to Ukraine’s grain exports caused by the war, a report from Germany’s Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW) said on Friday.

“The war in Ukraine could significantly worsen the supply of cereals used in food production in African countries, making food more expensive if Ukraine ceases to be a grain supplier,” the institute said.

“The country supplies large quantities of grain to North African states in particular, which other sources of supply could not replace even in the long run.”

Grain importers globally have been hit by surging prices, with wheat around 14-year highs following the sudden stop of exports from Ukraine and a sharp reduction from Russia. The conflict has closed grain export ports.

Russia and Ukraine contribute nearly 30% of global wheat exports along with large volumes of animal feed grains and edible oils, with shipments massively cut by the fighting.

”Due to the war, Ukraine is likely to be initially cut off from the global economy, trade routes have been cut, infrastructure destroyed and all remaining production factors are likely to be directed towards a war economy,” said the institute.

It added: “Losing Ukraine as a supplier will noticeably worsen the supply situation across the continent.”

Among the countries hardest hit could be Tunisia, where the country’s total wheat imports would decrease by over 15%. Egypt would import over 17% less while South Africa would import 7% less.

Grain imports would also be noticeably disrupted in countries including Cameroon, Algeria, Libya, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Morocco and Mozambique.

Germany will host a meeting of agriculture ministers of the G7 nations on Friday to discuss the consequences of the Ukraine conflict for global food security. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by Nick Macfie)

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