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Africa worries about the consequences of European sanctions

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The President of the African Union, the Senegalese Macky Sall, expressed concern on Tuesday about the consequences of European sanctions excluding Russian banks from the international Swift system and called on the Twenty-Seven to act to free the stocks of cereals blocked in Ukraine by the dispute.

The President of the African Union, the Senegalese Macky Sall, expressed concern on Tuesday about the consequences of European sanctions excluding Russian banks from the international Swift system and called on the Twenty-Seven to act to free the stocks of cereals blocked in Ukraine by the dispute.

Russian bank Sberbank deprived of access to Swift

As part of a sixth package of sanctions against Moscow, the EU decided overnight from Monday to Tuesday to deprive the main Russian bank, Sberbank, of access to Swift, a secure messaging platform allowing crucial operations such as funds transfer orders.

“When the Swift system is disrupted, that means that even if the products (to buy) exist, payment becomes complicated, if not impossible. I would like to insist that suitable solutions be found,” Macky Sall told the leaders of the Twenty. -Seven meeting at the summit in Brussels.

In a videoconference message, the Senegalese president also asked the Heads of State and Government to do everything “to release the cereal stocks available” in Ukraine but blocked due to the Russian offensive which is organizing a blockade in the Black Sea. and prohibits access to the port of Odessa.

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“Obviously you need an agreement with Russia to use the sea route”

It is necessary “to ensure transport and access to the market in order to avoid the catastrophic scenario of shortages and generalized price increases”, he pleaded.

“We are seeing how to get out the 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian wheat. It’s not easy,” explained the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell, accusing Russia of “using wheat as war weapon”. “Obviously you need an agreement with Russia to use the sea route,” he acknowledged.

Alternative routes by rail and road are being studied, but they will at best allow a third of the wheat stocks to be transported, a European official told AFP.

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Strong dependence on Russian and Ukrainian wheat production

“This crisis particularly affects our countries because of their strong dependence on Russian and Ukrainian wheat production”, insisted Macky Sall. According to the UN, 282 million people, more than a third of the world’s undernourished people, lived in Africa in 2020.

“Add to that 46 million Africans at risk of hunger and undernourishment due to the Covid pandemic. The worst may be ahead of us,” he warned, pointing out that soaring food prices fertilizer could cause a “20% to 50%” collapse in cereal yields in Africa this year.

However, “it is important that the EU and the AU speak with one voice, with a message aligned with the fact that the blocking of wheat exports is due to the war in Ukraine and not to European sanctions”, insists a European source.

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