file photo: militants of the self proclaimed donetsk people's republic train at a range in donetsk

In the midst of the Ukrainian conflict, Russia-Africa relations are in jeopardy

Last updated on October 26th, 2022 at 08:19 am

 UkraineUkraine – Russia has a strong influence on the African continent in a variety of ways. Trade, aid, military training, and paramilitary security are all on the table. In their opinion, some people think that the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine will put the future of this long-term friendship to the test.

While the South African government issued a statement condemning Russia’s actions, stating it is “dismayed” by the “intensification of the situation in Ukraine and “calls on Russia to promptly withdraw its forces from Ukraine in accordance with the UN charter.” As the Russian military advanced into Ukraine on Thursday, other African countries kept silent.

In recent years, Russia has grown its footprint on the continent, and a Russia-Africa conference is scheduled for November. Analysts warn that regardless of how African countries respond to Russia’s incursion in the future, the continent will suffer consequences. Will it be a new cold war or a new hot war? We still don’t have any answers. But whatever it is, Africa will be a casualty, “said Irina Filatova, a professor at Russia’s Higher School of Economics University.

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Experts have anticipated that Northern African countries that purchase cereals from Ukraine will face supply and price difficulties. The violence might also affect the financing and resources available for international development and aid, which many African countries rely on. Dzvinka Kachur, a researcher at Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Sustainability Transitions. “It will also cause a long-term distraction and divert focus away from the sustainable development goals,” Kachur warned. As a result, we may anticipate that state budgets around the world will be geared toward increasing militarism rather than development aims. The war could stop not only aid but also military and peacekeeping operations in Africa.

Pauline Bax works as the International Crisis Group’s deputy director in Johannesburg. “A lot of attention will be diverted away from conflicts that are quite serious here in Africa, such as the Sahel, the Mozambique conflict, and the Ethiopian conflict.” Bax stated. “There will have to be a lot of diplomatic effort put into the Ukraine situation right now, and it has already been put in—to the disadvantage of other crises in Africa.”

On the other hand, the confrontation is likely to present opportunities. African leaders, according to Kachur, should demand changes in global power systems, particularly at the United Nations. The United Nations Security Council has five permanent members, including Russia. “This is an opportunity to demonstrate that the United Nations system is ineffectual when the aggressor is a permanent member of the Security Council,” Kachur added. This is an excellent opportunity for African countries to discuss the need for reform in the global system of international relations and the redistribution of power.” Analysts say it’s too early to know how the Ukraine crisis will affect countries thousands of kilometers away.