Gibson Nyikadzino Herald Correspondent
LAST week, Zimbabwe’s Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube told journalists at a post-Cabinet briefing that the increase in food prices is a result of “imported inflation”.
The term “imported inflation”, though easy to understand, triggered some cognitive imbalances in some colleagues that attended the briefing.
A simple explanation that could be used to determine this “imported inflation” is the external or global occurrences that have disrupted the traditionally stable manufacturing and production chains, whose impact is now felt locally through price increases, and at times distortions.
Yet there is little relevance being given to the impact of events happening in Europe on Africa. Consequences of the proxy war of the United States and the European Union (EU) against Russia in Ukraine are trickling to Africa where millions of people are already finding the cost of living rising.
In economic terms, the perfection of the Western-instigated chaos is manifesting in Africa’s economies, yet this is not an accident, but a design by the West to turn even Africa against Russia.
To maintain the status quo and avoid a power shift to the East, where it is undoubtedly heading to, the US and the EU have clearly led the world into a hysteria over the Ukraine-Russia affair. Sanctions seem to have become the preferred tool of Western foreign policy.
Truth be told, US and EU sanctions on Russia are not bringing to them desired rewards. First the world was told Russia will be isolated, its economy will crumble and no one will want to associate with it.
Russia and China, for example, share a 3 000km long border to which their trade has no interruptions. The two countries on the other hand have a multi-billion-dollar gas deal that will see China get its supplies from Russia up to the next 30 years.
Agriculturally, Russia produces what is sufficient for its nationals and has surplus wheat which is vital to the world. Their platinum and oil have also been feeding perfectly into the value chains of the world economies.
Global economic Tsunami
The weaponisation of trade is what the US is now clamouring for leading to the rise in global food prices and commodities. In turn, this is impacting African countries that are, if unwise, being dragged to bandwagoning in the US corner.
Illegal economic sanctions by the West against Russia are creating a global economic tsunami and the weaponisation of trade that has already started to affect Africa’s food status. This tsunami is set to affect millions of Africans and that will also cause hunger and starvation because the US is blocking Russian exports to Africa.
In Ethiopia and Somalia, hundreds of thousands are already facing hunger, while in other parts of Africa the economies are showing signs of stress.
In 2021, Russia exported US$491,6 billion worth of merchandise around the globe. It’s top five trading partners were China, the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey and Belarus.
Russia also shares land or maritime borders with 16 other European or Asian countries whose sea ports were in 2021 used to export 3,5 percent of its manufactured and agricultural goods to Africa.
As of 2020, Russia exported US$12,4 billion worth of goods to Africa. It holds 2,4 percent of the market share in Africa against 19,6 percent for China, the continent’s largest trading partner, with only five percent shared among the United States, France and India.
To disrupt the trading routes that Russia uses to export goods to Africa, the West has now closed all its sea ports to Russian ships carrying the much needed goods destined for Africa. The alternative for Russia to move its goods to Africa is to use the port of Vladivostok, the furthest, which will be expensive. These inhumane acts by the West are what initiated “imported inflation”.
Africa appears to be on the receiving end as fuel and commodity prices have started going up and each step the West takes to ‘shut out’ Russia, the more Africa feels the pinch.
The months of March and April have been politically tense for many African countries, with some pressured by the West to act against their collective interests and conscience in favour of US’ proposals at the United Nations (UN).
On two occasions, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), first in March, voted to condemn Russia’s ongoing special military operation in Ukraine and this month the UN voted to suspend Russia from the UN Human Rights Council, which it later quit.
The two UN voting sessions gave African countries loud voices that were heard, explicitly or implicitly, through how they reacted to the processes. However, European anger against Africa has been overt, real, huge and unbearable.
For Africa, the message to Europe was clear. Your enemy is not our enemy!
According to the USA and EU, Africa’s neutrality is not what they need and evidence pointing to that has been glaring.
On March 25, EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen took to his microblogging platform, Twitter, saying he was “baffled by the widespread lack of African condemnation of Russia’s aggression.”
War of disinformation
There is a damage that colonialism did to Africa which Russia has on the other hand been trying to fight on Africa’s behalf. It has been Russia’s position to support Africa and counter Western influence in Africa during colonial and post-colonial days, as it is doing today.
It is only Russia at the moment which has the capability to militarily respond to Western aggression and the West knows it cannot succeed.
The alternative by the West has been sponsoring the opposition in Africa and Russia, and also conducting direct military aggression against Russia through NATO.
Euro-centric thinkers of African extract believe the information piece-meals coming from the West in its construction of Russia as the aggressor.
There is a total war of disinformation going on and generated by the US as the “empire of lies”. Digital platforms like Google and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, are manufacturing at least two-thirds of lies and disinformation on Russia in order to convince Africans that the country that helped them from clutches of colonialism is wrong, cruel and a danger to world peace.
In the end, many have believed the Western version of events because “you only know what you are allowed to know.”
Many Africans believing Western propaganda are unaware that in Ukraine, with the blessing of the European countries, those who are in favour of a negotiation to end Russia’s special military operation have been eliminated.
This was the case of Denis Kireyev, one of the Ukrainian negotiators, who was assassinated on March 5 by the Ukrainian secret service (SBU) because he was too favourable to Russia and was considered a traitor.
The same fate befell Dmitry Demyanenko, former deputy head of the SBU who was assassinated on March 10 because he favoured peace over military confrontation.
Africans now need to be bold and firmer, choosing her friends correctly.
EU’s policy of famine
All African governments should be able to withstand the pressure from the West. The numbers of Africans who are to be affected by actions of the Europe are scary.
European neo-colonialism has prohibited use of sea ports moving Russian goods to Africa. The prohibition of the Euro and the American dollar as exchange currencies have prompted Russia to come up with a new monetary policy that compels Western Europe to buy gas in Russian roubles.
These prohibitions are aimed at Africa, not Russia. This is a move to alienate Russia from Africa.
It is the West’s plan to create a policy of famine in Africa by acting as though they are punishing Russia while targeting Africans. The ultimate result from these dangerous excursions is that Europe will face an extreme backlash of the migrant crisis if they fail to stop the US and NATO from the direct aggression on Russia. By establishing ways that affect Africa, the West is also scared of their self-isolation.
‘In Russia we trust’
Russia helped Africa achieve independence, it is a genuine ally for all African countries that fought colonialism.
In the end, the price will be high. However, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin will likely achieve the goals he set for his country. He has been pushed into the arms of China and other new friends that believe in peace and co-operation over warmongering tactics.
Moscow’s ties with Beijing are solidified
On another extreme, the Americans have asked Venezuela and Iran for oil to get out of the energy impasse they have put themselves in. The United States has to piteously backtrack on the sanctions it imposed on its “enemies” because they are not working.
Western leaders who have sought to collapse the Russian economy and make Russians suffer, even calling for the assassination of President Putin, are no better than those they want to force people to hate.