Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, launched in February, followed by the dramatic increase in tensions on the global scene will undoubtedly affect the economic and political landscape in Africa in the medium term, as well as the balance of external powers active on the continent and Africa’s pace of development in key areas.
Diplomatically, Africa has chosen to remain neutral on the subject of the conflict, alongside a large portion of the Global South nations. 26 out of 54 African states did not support the UN General Assembly’s resolution to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine. Eritrea voted against it, while 17 other African countries (out of 35 globally) abstained from the vote. These include Algeria, Angola, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and South Sudan. Eight more nations did not vote: Burkina Faso, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Cameroon, Morocco, Togo, Eswatini and Ethiopia. Egypt, despite voicing its support of the resolution, is maintaining constructive cooperation with Russia anyway. No country on the African continent has so far joined the sanctions.
Notably, both Senegal and Tanzania, continental economic leaders of the last decade, did not join its traditional trade and business partners to condemn Russia. Of no less significance is the statement that came from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who said in parliament that “the war could have been avoided if NATO had heeded the warnings from amongst its own leaders and officials over the years that its eastward expansion would lead to greater, not less, instability in the region.”