The ongoing war in Ukraine could have significant ramifications in Africa, from damaged educational opportunities to weakened economies as a result of disrupted trade.
Russia and Ukraine have both played a critical role in Africa’s development.
Over the years, Russia has provided trade, aid, military training, and paramilitary security in countries such as Mali. Ukraine, one of the dominant wheat producers in Europe, also exports its agricultural products to Africa.
With these deep economic ties, how will the war impact those outside of Russia and Ukraine? Unfortunately, it seems clear that this will distract from urgent sustainability goals and shift focus away from global zero-emission pledges, as nations pivot to prioritise military spending.
In addition, a change in aid and peacekeeping efforts could greatly impact countries currently locked in civil war, such as Ethiopia and Nigeria. Education, trade, and general public welfare may all be hugely disrupted.
The African students caught in the middle
Both Ukraine and Russia offer affordable tuition fees and a number of scholarships to African students pursuing higher education.
Thousands of African students are currently stranded amid the ongoing conflict – despite some crossing over to neighboring countries such as Poland and Slovakia.
Currently, Ukraine accounts for more than 8,000 Moroccan students, 4000 Nigerians, and 3,500 Egyptians, just to mention a few. The Nigerian government vowed to evacuate their nationals from the country as soon as airports opened while the Kenyan government held successful talks with the Polish government for their nationals to have free passage.