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Egypt in search of wheat. How the Russia-Ukraine war may trigger food insecurity

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Egypt, the world’s top importer of wheat, is looking for new sources after the Russian invasion of Ukraine disrupted crucial supply from the two major exporting countries.


It is a little over a week since Russian soldiers have invaded Ukraine following the order of their President, Vladimir Putin.
The war is already having a negative effect on countries – especially those that depend on the two countries for food, oil and gold.


Russia is the world’s largest wheat exporter and Ukraine is among the top five. Global grain markets are facing turmoil following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, with the two countries accounting for about 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply.


Wheat is fundamental to the Egyptian diet, with about 70 per cent of the population relying on subsidised bread to feed their families.


The Arab world’s most populous country, with more than 100 million people, Egypt is expected to need about 13 million tonnes of wheat this year, said Lamy Hamed, associate professor in the soil and water department at Cairo University’s Faculty of Agriculture.


This was said as the country’s main buying agency, the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC), issued an international tender for Monday to buy 55,000 to 60,000 tonnes of wheat.


Despite the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian military escalation, the Egyptian ship “Wadi Al-Arab” carrying 60 tons of Ukrainian wheat has left the Yuzhne port of Ukraine and en route to Egypt, said the GASC on Saturday.


The shipment is part of a total of  300,000 tons of wheat scheduled to arrive from February 15 to March 3, 2022, the GASC noted. In a meeting with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Sunday, Minister of Supply Aly Moselhy said that the state’s strategic wheat stock lasts for 4 months and local production season will start in April, with a target of 4 million tons. On Feb. 26, 2022, the GASC announced – on behalf of the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade – a new international tender to import wheat, adding that the shipments are scheduled on April 13-26.

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Tanzanian Central Bank reduces economic liquidity to curb rising inflation

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The Tanzanian Central Bank on Saturday said one of the measures it has taken to slow down rising inflation in September and October is to reduce the liquidity in the economy.

A statement published by the east African country’s apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said inflation in the country has been on the rise since the beginning of the year, rising from 4.6% on August from a previous 4.5% in July.

MPC said while the country’s economy was facing a range of challenges, including weak global growth, high commodity prices, tight financial conditions and the recurrence of COVID-19 in some countries, it was necessary to reduce the liquidity to stabilise the economy.

“In the context of high inflation and commodity prices, which has contributed to rising inflationary pressures in the country, the MPC approved for the bank to continue with gradual reduction of liquidity in September and October 2022.

“The policy decision aims at reducing inflationary pressures, while safeguarding economic activities,” the statement said.

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Air traffic controllers in West, Central Africa suspend strike for negotiations after 48-hour disruption

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The industrial action by air traffic controllers in West and Central Africa has been suspended.

The unions announced the suspension after a 48-hour strike having disrupted flights across the region and left hundreds of passengers stranded at airports.

According to a statement by the Union of Air Traffic Controllers’ Unions (USYCAA), the decision to suspend its strike notice for 10 days immediately so as to allow for negotiations.

“Air traffic services will be provided in all air spaces and airports managed by ASECNA from today Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 1200 GMT,” the statement said.

One of the stranded passengers, Nsoh Brinston, lamented on how the strike would make him spend more than his budget on his intended travel to Kigali, Rwanda.

“I will have to spend more than I intended due to the cancelled flight. I will have to do another COVID test which costs 30,000 CFA francs ($45),” he said.’

Also, eight flights scheduled to leave the commercial hub of Abidjan on Saturday were cancelled in Ivory Coast.

Industries like aviationtelecom operators have all their operations disrupted across Africa lately largely as part of the fallout of the Russian/Ukraine war which has caused a hike in aviation fuel.

It is yet to be seen if the negotiations between air traffic controllers and government authorities will birth lasting solutions to the challenge which now cuts across the continent.

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