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Macky Sall meets Vladimir Putin amid food shortage

African Union

This Thursday, Macky Sall, President of the African Union, flew to meet Vladimir Putin in Russia. At the heart of the discussions, the shortage of cereals on the continent.

This Thursday, Macky Sall flew, accompanied by Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the Commission of the African Union (AU), to Russia. In Sochi, the Senegalese Head of State and the former Prime Minister of Chad will represent the AU during a meeting with Vladimir Putin. The question of cereal exports will be one of the issues of the discussions between the presidents. A visit that has been scheduled since the arrival in Senegal of German Chancellor Olaf Scholtz.

Officially, “we want peace, we are working for a ceasefire,” says Macky Sall, who explains that “that's the African position”. A mission that promises to be delicate, as Africa is silent in the face of the situation in Ukraine. Several votes at the UN have shown different positions depending on the country, and even sometimes depending on the moment, some States changing their tune as time progressed.

If Macky Sall says he wants to “carry the voice of Africa”, he will have to act as a fine diplomat. At the beginning of last March, the new president of the AU had already called Putin to tell him that “Africa, which found itself between a rock and a hard place, wanted a ceasefire in Ukraine”. Above all, he continued, “the continent is affected by the consequences of the war itself as well as by the sanctions which hit Russia”.

Hydrocarbons, cereals and fertilizers

“At the time, Vladimir Putin indicated that he was ready to discuss with the Ukrainians. But we can see that it is not easy, admits Macky Sall. Following the Russian President's invitation to go to Moscow, the AU gave me a mandate to ask for the cessation of hostilities, as well as the possibility of allowing Ukraine and Russia to export cereals and raw materials that the world needs".

This is ultimately the whole point of Macky Sall's visit to Russia: to prevent the food shortage in Africa from taking on irreversible proportions, after two years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition to cereals, the rise in hydrocarbon prices and the lack of fertilizers are two other consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

A real test - undoubtedly the main one - for the current president of the AU. During the vote on the UN resolution condemning Russia, Senegal abstained. Macky Sall therefore arrives as a friend in Russia. Especially since in 2021, Dakar was in pole position to host the Russia-Africa summit this year.

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