Food emergency declared in Chad, country calls for help

Chad declared a national food emergency. In a proclamation signed by Mahamat Idriss Déby, the military transition head, the government called on “all national and international partners to assist the populace.”

There would be a “continuous deterioration of the food and nutritional condition, as well as an increasing risk” of food shortages if the Sahelian country is not helped.

Last year, the United Nations assessed that 5.5 million Chadians, or more than a third of the population, need immediate humanitarian assistance. Following the conflict in Ukraine, the situation has only become worse.

Russia and Ukraine were the world’s second and third cereal exporters in 2020, according to the Observatory of Economic Complexity (OEC). Africa purchased 4 billion dollars worth of agricultural products from Russia in the same year. This is especially true in Maghreb nations who rely on Russian and Ukrainian wheat. Imports account for more than half of the total. Southern Africa is not immune; Zambia and Zimbabwe, for example, are anticipated to suffer economic consequences. All fertilizers used in the nation are supplied by Russian enterprises to the bank.

Chad’s request for assistance comes as the AU chairperson and the chairman of the AU commission meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in an attempt to mediate in the Ukraine conflict and discuss the release of grain and fertilizer stocks that have been blocked, affecting countries that rely heavily on imports.

In a statement sent to European leaders gathering in Brussels on Tuesday, Senegalese President Macky Sall urged them to do everything possible “to liberate the food supplies available” in Ukraine, which are being held hostage by Russia’s Black Sea blockade, which prevents access to the port of Odessa. “The cataclysmic scenario of shortages and broad price increases,” Sall said. The impact of Western sanctions on Russia was also brought up by the Senegalese president.

With the exclusion of a number of Russian banks from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) banking system, it has become more difficult for African countries to pay for their commodities.

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