Egypt PM, Madbouly announces wheat backup as Ukraine/Russia war stops flow
Egypt’s Prime Minister, Mostafa Madbouly, has announced that the country will diversify its sources of wheat to avoid relying on what he described as “specific sources” for this product.
The minister added that the country would be using its strategic reserves until the end of 2022.
The announcement followed a ban on the export of wheat and other food staples announced by Ukraine.
Madbouly said the government is intensifying work to continue providing a strategic reserve of basic commodities, especially wheat.
“(We are) providing the financial funds required for the Ministry of Supply to quickly pay the dues of farmers who will supply the wheat crop during next April, while giving them the necessary incentives in this regard,” he added.
“The government …is closely monitoring current developments at the global level, and the turmoil it is witnessing due to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis and its repercussions … especially the shortage of a number of goods and the rise in prices worldwide.”
Last year, Russia accounted for 69.4 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports, while Ukraine accounted for 10.7 percent.
I assure all Egyptians that we won’t have any crisis at all or be compelled to buy from the international market until the end of this year. I am talking about the citizens’ basic needs concerning the bread loaf, we as the Egyptian state won’t be pressured at all to buy any shipments under the current price surges as we will have a stock that will cover our needs until the end of 2022″, said the Egyptian prime minister Mustafa Madbouly.
Egypt relies on Russia and Ukraine for the supply of wheat that is turned into bread, noodles and animal feed.
“It is true that Russia and Ukraine were our main source of wheat but we have already started to diversify our sources of wheat for imports in future deals, and that is already applied. We already buy (wheat) from various other countries. So we are always securing the diversity of our wheat sources so that they are not limited to specific countries”, promised the prime minister.
Sharp spikes in the cost of wheat could severely affect Egypt’s ability to keep bread prices at their current subsidised level.
Cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said Egypt is working on a plan to import wheat from other regions instead of Russia and Ukraine. Egypt has 14 countries approved to supply wheat, some of them outside Europe, he added.
“Egypt has a strategic stock of wheat approaching 5 million tons in silos or mills, and local wheat will join them starting from next April 15, to suffice the stock for a period of nine months,” Saad said.
Egypt is the largest importer of wheat in the world. The government expects wheat imports to decline from 5.5 million tons in 2021 to 5.3 million this year due to growth in domestic production.
South Africa: Opposition, DA want findings on alleged arms supply to Russia public
South African opposition party, the Democratic Alliance has vowed to challenge the decision by the presidency to keep from the public, findings from recent arm supply allegations.
The follows allegations by United States Ambassador, Reuben Brigety that South Africa provided ammunition to Russia by ship. Brigety said the US was sure that contrary to its public claim of being non-aligned in the Russia/Ukraine crisis, South Africa supplied arms to Vladimir Putin’s army in December.
Following the allegation, President Ramaphosa launched an investigation to be conducted by an independent body which will be led by retired Deputy Justice Phineas Mojapelo, advocate Leah Gcabashe, and former justice minister Enver Surty. Meanwhile, his spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the government would withhold the panel’s findings.
Magwenya said the terms of reference for the inquiry would not be gazetted or published.
“The investigation covers issues of national security and classified information, which is protected from disclosure,” he said.
“This inquiry has been instituted in a similar manner to the inquiry that investigated the July 2021 riots in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng and the value of its report remains unchallenged.
“The panel will be supported in gathering the information that is necessary to fulfil its mandate by letters from the president instructing all relevant government entities as identified by the panel to cooperate fully with the panel or face disciplinary sanction,” he said.
“The work of the panel will not be public, nor will its report be made public. The president will speak to any actions that may result with respect to national security. This is provided for within our secrecy laws as per the nature of this matter,” he added.
In a statement, the DA said it would not ” leave this secrecy unchallenged. We have already submitted an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act to obtain a copy of the panel’s terms of reference. And we are obtaining legal advice to challenge Ramaphosa’s plan to hide the report once it is complete.”
The party leader, John Steenhuisen argued that keeping the report private “undermines the ability of prosecutors and the public to hold guilty parties accountable for any such violations of the law”.
“Hiding this report from public view will rob the people of South Africa – and of the world – of the opportunity to see the full facts of this matter.
“Refusing to disclose the complete picture of how the ANC-led government allegedly smuggled weapons to arm Russia’s war in Ukraine and various parts of Africa will also undermine the very purpose of the investigation.”
Zimbabwe’s electoral commission, ZEC promises to publicise voters’ register
The electoral commission in Zimbabwe said it would soon publish the voters’ register for the forthcoming general elections.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) also assured the public of a fair election and promised to rectify anomalies that were observed during the voters’ inspection exercise.
The head of ZEC, Utloile Silaigwana made the position known when he announced the end of the mop-up voter registration exercise on Friday.
Silaigwana further revealed that the Nomination court would sit on 21 June and thereafter the voters’ roll would be accessible to candidates.
There are contentions about the neutrality of the electoral commission. In March, a member of the opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Allan Markham filed a court application challenging ZEC for access to the electronic voters’ roll but had his request rejected because “it was too risky” and in the interest of data protection.
Meanwhile, the ruling party, Zanu PF sent text messages to registered voters during the period urging them to vote for President Emmerson Mnangagwa. This move further fuelled the allegation that Zanu PF had access to the voters’ roll which is why it was able to send the messages.
President Mnangagwa is running for re-election to a second term after coming to power following a military coup that dislodged Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe’s president in 2017.
The country is struggling with deep poverty, recurring power outages, and crippling unemployment, all of which have fuelled widespread resentment.
The President of Zimbabwe is elected using a two-round system. The Zimbabwean legislature is made up of 270 members of the National Assembly, 210 members elected in single-member constituencies, and 60 women elected by proportional representation in ten six-seat constituencies based on the country’s provinces.
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