RUSSIA- President Vladimir Putin has promised that Russia will pay special attention to the supply of grain crops to African countries, including through the UN humanitarian food program, during the ongoing Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg in Russia.
The summit, which will take place today (Thursday) and Friday, will involve President Putin addressing the African leadership delegations and holding intensive one-on-one talks with individual African leaders focusing on everything from trade to security, arms deals, and grain supplies.
This summit is the second of its kind after the first one was held in 2019, and will be attended by representatives from 49 African countries, including 17 heads of states.
Speaking at the summit, Putin acknowledged that there has been a destabilization of global supply chains for grains, which has affected food security in Africa, and is willing to do its part to remember the situation.
According to the president, Russia will be ready to ship free grain to some of Africa’s poorest nations within the next three to four months.
Putin promised that Russia is ready to deliver 25-50 thousand tons of grain to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somali, the Central African Republic, and Eritrea each, providing that Moscow will also cover the delivery costs of the shipments to alleviate food insecurity.
According to President Putin, Russia is expecting a bumper harvest this marketing year and should be able to meet the demand for grains in the African continent even after the black sea grain deal came to an end.
Moscow has long insisted that the agreement had failed to achieve its purported aims and had turned into a purely commercial enterprise. Putin reiterated that the UN’s inability to persuade Western nations to lift economic sanctions on Russian food and fertilizer exports, which was part of the deal, had marred the entire reasoning for the operation.
Moreover, Russia has remarked before that approximately 70% of the grain exports under the black sea grain deal did not go to Africa but instead went to well-to-do countries, thus beating the very purpose of the initiative.
He had earlier blamed Western countries for obstructing the supply of Russian grain and fertilizers to Africa and warned that doing so brings more bad than good to the African countries that depend on these supplies.
“They created obstacles even to our plans to donate fertilizers to the poorest nations that needed them,” the Russian leader said. “Out of 262,000 tons of the fertilizers blocked in European ports, we’ve managed to ship only two lots: merely 20,000 tons to Malawi and 34,000 tons to Kenya. The rest remains in the hands of the Europeans.”
Putin stressed Russia’s role as a major exporter of wheat, a key product for food security. The nation’s share of the market is 20%, compared to less than 5% for Ukraine, he noted.
“This means that Russia makes a significant contribution to global food security and acts as a reliable, responsible international supplier of agricultural products. Those denying this and focusing on the so-called grain deal… are distorting the facts or telling lies,” he stated.”