Russia-Ukraine conflict affects Sub-Saharan African economies – Africa Pulse Report

The Russia-Ukraine conflict has affected Sub-Saharan African economies through higher commodity prices and disruptions in international trade thus, aggravating existing supply chain problems, the World Bank has revealed in its April 2022 Africa Pulse report.

“A sharp compression of imports from Russia and Ukraine, along with global trade deceleration and rising commodity prices, have affected countries in the region that are net commodity importers—either through direct linkages with the countries in conflict or through soaring global commodity prices”, it explained.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s trade linkages with Russia and Ukraine are not as tight as those with countries in other regions of the world. For instance, Russia and Ukraine account for 1.3% of total imports in Sub-Saharan Africa of which, 1.0% comes from Russia and 0.3% from Ukraine.

However, the report said there is some heterogeneity across countries in the region in terms of trade linkages, adding “dependence on imports from Russia and Ukraine is higher than the regional average in some West African countries (the Republic of Congo, The Gambia, Senegal, and Togo) and some East African countries (Sudan and Uganda).”

Given the lower levels of trade between Russia and Ukraine and most countries in the region, the impact of the conflict on trade in Sub-Saharan Africa is mainly through the channel of higher global commodity prices.

The report further sad despite the low exposure to overall trade with Russia and Ukraine, some countries in the region are highly exposed to the price of cereals and, more specifically, wheat, edible oils especially, sunflower seed oil, and fertilizers.

Russia and Ukraine accounted for 15.3% of cereal imports in Sub-Saharan Africa (11.4% from Russia and 3.9% from Ukraine) in 2020.

The share of cereal imports coming from Russia and Ukraine exceeds 25% for five countries in the region—namely, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Nigeria.