By Zukile Majova
Organised business in South Africa has hailed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s peace mission to Ukraine and Russia, saying the war is already hurting African economies.
Advocate Mtho Xulu, the president of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, slammed the DA and other critics of the African Peace Initiative, saying African leaders could no longer wait for the developed nations to plead Africa’s case in world politics.
“We spend a lot of money building multilateralism on the continent and globally and we pay a lot of fees to make sure that we sustain a department like Dirco and our international footprint of embassies.
“To say a mission like this is wasteful is not to understand how diplomacy works and how to become part of the global community,” said Xulu.
He said business leaders had been in conversation with the diplomats from Ukraine and Russia regarding the opening of trade routes.
“The direct impact has been on grain and fertiliser but that has a knock-on effect because food shortage would affect every citizen on the continent.
“So any increases around food will have a knock-on effect because it puts pressure on existing incomes, so from a labour point of view you’ll have to increase wages which also increases input costs for anything that is produced on the continent,” he told Newzroom Afrika.
Ramaphosa said Africa’s plight could be desperate in the next few months because of rising food prices, the cost of fuel and grain.
According to the African Development Bank, the conflict has “triggered a shortage of about 30 million tonnes of grains on the African continent, along with a sharp increase in cost.”
The rand also remained unchanged, trading at R19.52 to the dollar on Monday – an improvement from R19.90 last week.
The Russia/Ukraine conflict will also feature in the Russia Africa Summit in Russia in July, and the meeting of the Brics nations in South Africa later in the year.
Pictured above: President Cyril Ramaphosa concludes a historic peace mission to Russia and Ukraine