Faced with the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine for Africa in general and Cameroon in particular, the president of the Inter-Patronal Group of Cameroon (Gicam), Célestin Tawamba sent an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron on 8 June.
He pleads for the organisation of a European Union (EU) – African Union (AU) summit. “The need for this summit is due to the food emergency, which is itself fuelled by an inflationary environment conducive to the emergence of social and political tensions,” says the man who is also president of the Union of Central African Employers .The desired meeting, according to the president of Gicam, could be held on African soil to add to the symbolism, and would have the objective of defining the accompanying measures of African countries in order to get out of the crisis in the short term and, on the other hand, to initiate the reflection on an effective organization of agricultural policies, including the modernization of the sector and the promotion of agro-industry and local products.
According to Mr Tawamba, the summit is urgently needed because the record prices of energy and agricultural commodities, such as wheat, maize or fertiliser supplied by these two countries in conflict, are of particular concern for the African region.
“For wheat, for example, imports account for about 85% of supply, with one third coming from Russia or Ukraine. In this respect, 16 countries with 40% of the continent’s population, i.e. 374 million inhabitants, are 56% or more dependent on Russian and Ukrainian wheat. This is considerable,” argues the representative of the Cameroonian and Central African employers’ association.
Opinion has it that the latter ignored the AU ignored who through its president Marky Sall had already initiated a procedure to tackle this situation. This can be proven with the last visit Senegal’s President effectuated in Russia to negociate with Vladimir Puttin on possible means to alternuate the ongoing crisis affecting Africa at the time.
The head of the African Union proposed to his counterpart to release the stocks of grain blocked in Ukraine because of the war. For the sake of balance, the AU chairperson is also expected to be in Kiev, Ukraine.
Indeed, at the World Water Forum held in Dakar last March, Macky Sall called on international partners, including the World Bank, to help Africa cope with the consequences of the war in Ukraine by reallocating the special drawing rights of rich countries. He recalled “the urgency of the African request to reallocate SDRs from rich countries to developing countries, particularly African countries, to support our efforts to build resilience and economic recovery“, after having made an initial request to Brussels last February.