African countries could see food shortages by this summer if Russia’s war on Ukraine does not come to a halt soon.

While food prices in parts of Africa continue to rise, many fear that the war could greatly impact the continent’s access to wheat, which impacts necessities like bread.

According to Reuters, North Africa is susceptible to increases in the price of basic food items due to poverty and an inability to produce certain foods locally. 

In recent years, trade dealings between Africa, Russia and Ukraine have increased because both former Soviet Union republics are major players in the global agricultural trade community.

According to CNN, Russia exports roughly $14 billion worth of goods to Africa annually.

Wandile Shilobo, the Chief Economist of Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa told CNN “In the short term, between now and three months, the conflict will affect food supply primarily from a pricing perspective.”

He added, “As net importers of products like wheat, which influences bread and cereals, sunflower oil and maize, African countries are fairly exposed on some of these supplies that are coming out of Russia and Ukraine. There will be challenges if the war continues for more than three months — because ordinarily, countries usually keep stock of supplies for three to five months.”

This news comes after the continent has seen a rise in food prices due to a severe drought in the eastern subregion.

If trade is interrupted due to the war, countries like Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, South Africa and Kenya could be impacted the hardest and could see a bigger spike in food prices.  

However, since the global economy is interconnected, prices will likely rise in other African countries who do not heavily rely on Ukraine or Russia for their products, NPR reported.

Experts say in less than three months, parts of Africa could experience hunger.

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