UN chief warns war is hurting poor countries

AP , Tuesday 15 Mar 2022

The United Nations chief warned Monday that Russia's war on Ukraine is holding ‘a sword of Damocles’ over the global economy, especially poor developing countries that face skyrocketing food, fuel and fertilizer prices and are now seeing their breadbasket ‘being bombed’.

Wheat from Ukraine
Sacks of wheat grain are seen in a sheep farm in Montejaque on March 11, 2022. AFP

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told reporters that ‘Russia and Ukraine represent more than half of the world's supply of sunflower oil and about 30 percent of the world's wheat’ and that ‘grain prices have already exceeded those at the start of the Arab Spring and the food riots of 2007-2008’.

He told reporters that 45 African and least developed countries import at least one-third of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia, and 18 of them import at least 50%. These countries include Congo, Burkina Faso, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, he said.

‘All of this is hitting the poorest the hardest and planting the seeds for political instability and unrest around the globe’, Guterres warned.

Short link: