A view of a wheat field in the Siberian Novosibirsk region on 19 September 2023.
- Somalia and Burkina Faso will be the first recipients of free grain from Russia.
- Also on the list of beneficiaries are the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali and Zimbabwe.
- Somalia and Burkina Faso have seen fast-growing relationships with Russia.
Somalia and Burkina Faso, the two African countries whose relations with Russia are on the mend, will be the first to receive free Russian grain in about a week.
Russia’s Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev, speaking at the Russia International Exhibition in Moscow on Friday, said two grain consignments were on their way to Africa.
“The first two ships, each carrying 25 000 tons of Russian wheat, have already set sail from Russian ports for Somalia and Burkina Faso.
“We anticipate that they will arrive in late November or early December,” Patrushev said.
Of late, relations between Russia and Somalia have been strengthening. Russia granted debt relief of up to $13 billion (R239 billion) to the East African country at the Russia-Africa Summit in July.
Russia also offered to supply Somalia’s army with military equipment in its war against terrorism.
In July, Russia reopened its embassy in Burkina Faso as a sign of growing relations.
Burkina Faso’s Defense and Veteran Affairs Minister Kassoum Coulibaly was in Moscow last week to discuss military cooperation between the two countries.
After months of threatening to pull out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia finally did on 17 July. By then, roughly 33 million tons of grain and other food items had gone to 45 nations.
But Russia said most of the grain didn’t go to African countries that were desperately in need of it, adding that its demands for its own trade were not met under the deal.
The Joint Coordination Center of the UN said that 57% of the foodstuffs exported from Ukraine under the agreement went to underdeveloped nations while 43% went to industrialised countries.
At the Russia-Africa Summit, a week after the expiry of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he would export grain to African countries free of charge.
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Another 200 000 tons of grain are due in the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali and Zimbabwe before the end of the year, Patrushev said.
The shipment due to Zimbabwe is big enough to significantly distort a market in which South Africa is an important supplier.
According to a report by Euronews, Ukrainians are now exporting their large grain stocks on land due to Russian bombardment. This has resulted in one of the most severe bottlenecks the Black Sea region has ever witnessed.
The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.
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Publish date : 2023-11-20 14:37:33