By VINCENT OWINO

African countries will be able to jointly source commodities, the supply of which has been affected by the Ukrainian crisis, following the launch of the African Trade Exchange (ATEX), a platform created to avoid the effects of war in Europe from the East over Africa.

They will be able to buy the products at advantageous prices.

The platform was developed by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and the United Nations Economic Commission United for Africa (UNECA).

It aims to help already fiscally strained African economies cope with supply shortages caused by the war in Ukraine, UNECA said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The Russian-Ukrainian crisis has increased pressure on critical supply chains in commodity markets, with current and projected price increases for agricultural products and inputs such as grains and fertilizers,” the report said. communicated.

“The bigger implications are the downstream effects of potential supply chain constraints that can raise prices, increase vulnerability and food insecurity, creating unsustainable pressure on already strained fiscal environments.”

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The Ukraine crisis has caused shortages of wheat, maize and other cereals, as well as fertilizers in several African countries, mainly net food importers who obtain more than 80% of their wheat and maize from Russia and from Ukraine.

This has seen food and oil prices soar and currencies depreciate sharply in African countries.

In Kenya, prices rose by 6.47% in April alone, while the shilling fell to a record low of Ksh 117 to the US dollar.

Uganda recorded an inflation rate of 1.4% in April and its currency fluctuated against the US dollar. In Tanzania, prices increased by 3.8%, while in Rwanda they increased by 3.5% in April alone.

According to UNECA, ATEX will ensure the resilience of the supply chain in Africa, by allowing “the trade of the main agricultural products and inputs imported by the continent from Russia and Ukraine”, improving the price stability of these products. basic.

“The platform will facilitate the joint sourcing by African buyers of these products from African suppliers when possible and from outside the continent when necessary, thus helping to create new continental supply chains that isolate Africans from the volatility that has characterized recent years,” the ECA said.

Prior to the platform’s launch, the AfDB announced a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Plan to rapidly help African countries produce around 38 million tonnes of food, including wheat, corn, rice and soybeans, to mitigate the effects of Ukraine’s war on food prices.

The ECA said these two interventions are crucial in helping Africa improve food security and negotiate competitive prices in the international market.

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