President of Ukraine

The first ambassadors, experts on the African continent, joined the Grain from Ukraine initiative - Andriy Yermak

19 January 2023 - 14:47

The first ambassadors, experts on the African continent, joined the Grain from Ukraine initiative - Andriy Yermak

Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak held a regular meeting of the working group on providing assistance to countries suffering from an acute food crisis, during which they discussed the expansion of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Grain from Ukraine initiative and the involvement of international experts familiar with the issues of the African continent in its implementation.

"We see the prospect of expanding the project. To do this, we need reliable partners with local knowledge and extensive connections," stated Andriy Yermak.

He introduced the experts who became the first ambassadors of Grain from Ukraine on the African continent.

Among them is former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, who is currently active in a number of international organizations, including the Executive Committee of UN Women.

The initiative was also joined by Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Regional Director for Central and West Africa Programs at the National Democratic Institute (USA), who has led international election observation missions and managed democracy support programs in many countries on the African continent.

The third ambassador of Grain from Ukraine is Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education of Nigeria and former Vice President of the World Bank, who is currently a Senior Advisor at the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative and Regional Director of the National Democratic Institute in Africa.

Andriy Yermak thanked the experts for their cooperation and support for Ukraine in implementing this important humanitarian initiative.

According to the Head of the President's Office, since the launch of the Grain from Ukraine program in November 2022, more than 30 donor countries have joined the program. These are the EU countries, Qatar, Türkiye, Japan, Norway, Korea, Canada and the United States. So far, participants have pledged nearly $200 million.

"The goal is to provide grain to at least 5 million people by the end of this spring. And this is just the beginning of a global humanitarian corridor for countries facing the threat of famine. And it is because of Russia that the famine is happening," emphasized Andriy Yermak.

The Head of the Presidential Office reminded that Russia has attacked not only Ukraine, but is trying to destroy the entire world order. This includes the artificial deepening of the energy crisis in Europe, nuclear blackmail and incredible damage to the environment of the entire region. Russia has also jeopardized the food security of dozens of countries.

"The terrorist country put pressure on various states and blackmailed them with the threat of famine. And this led not only to an increase in food prices, but also to social and political consequences in many countries," stated the Head of the Presidential Office.

He reminded that before the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine's share in the global grain trade was 10%. Our country was the 4th largest grain exporter in the world, ahead of all EU member states, and provided the UN World Food Program with about 40% of wheat for countries experiencing serious food shortages.

According to Andriy Yermak, since the Ukrainian nation experienced several terrible waves of Holodomor in the last century, and about 15 million Ukrainians died of the famine artificially created by the Soviet authorities, our state understands well all those who have problems with food, and therefore does not stand aside and even in difficult times tries to help them.

For her part, Joyce Banda noted that she was proud to join the Grain from Ukraine initiative.

"We really need to support and help those countries affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war," she said, noting that with grain shortages due to Russian aggression, many families find it difficult to buy the necessary food.

The former President of Malawi also expressed her support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and declared her readiness to participate in projects that will help end this war.

Oby Ezekwesili noted Ukraine's active and effective initiatives to combat the food crisis not only on the African continent, but also around the world.

"We are talking about millions of people who will receive this support. These people will suffer if they don't have food on their table," she said, adding that 62 million people in Africa suffer from food insecurity for one reason or another.

"That's why we and the world really consider Ukraine as a country that, despite the war, is doing such important things to help overcome famine," she added.

Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh stated that he and other experts together have the desire and intention to help overcome the food crisis and work for the benefit of Africa.

"I reaffirm my commitment to working with you to achieve results. Our hearts are full of sympathy for the people of Ukraine. We would like to express our respect to President Zelenskyy, the government and people of Ukraine for fighting the threat of annexation despite all the difficulties and setting an example for the rest of the world," he said.

In addition to communicating with experts, the participants of the meeting discussed the results of involving international donor partners in the implementation of the initiative, improving the mechanism for receiving funds from partners, the issue of food shipment, the results of visits of Ukrainian delegations to Africa and further prospects for work on this continent.