According to the latest African Economic Outlook report by the African Development Bank, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic pose huge challenges to the continent.
The bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, said at the launch of the report that it will take a great deal of effort for Africa to fully recover.
“The recovery for Africa will be very costly. Africa will need at least 432 billion dollars to address the effects of COVID-19 on its economies and on the lives of its people — resources it does not have.”
An economist at the University of Ghana, Adu Owusu Sarkodie, told VOA that African economies could recover quickly from the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war by trading among themselves and investing more in agriculture.
The war cut off wheat exports from Ukraine, pushing food prices higher across Africa.
“For Africa to get out of this mess they have to look into local production, our economy must be inward looking at this point in time. There are some inputs that are in short supply, a typical example is fertilizer and I think that African economies must be able to set up a fertilizer plant to produce their own fertilizer. Wheat supply is also in shortage therefore there must be an attempt to grow their own wheat.”
Sarkodie lauded the African Development Bank for recently approving $1.5 billion to avert a food crisis on the continent by providing seed and other supplies to 20 million farmers.
“The last thing we want to see in Africa is food crisis… therefore this amount of money if available should be invested in agriculture inputs, encourage food production and build storage facilities to store the food so they can be available in lean season and build good roads… there is every need for us to start working towards ensuring food security now.”
As the war in Ukraine and coronavirus pandemic continue to bite, pushing millions of Africans into extreme poverty, locals are hoping initiatives by the African Development Bank and their governments will spark an economic rebound.