by Mitchelle Uzorka
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine has named former Vice President of the World Bank and Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, and two other African leaders, as ambassadors of the Ukrainian government’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ programme, making them the first set of African ambassadors of the initiative.
‘Grain from Ukraine’ is an initiative of the Ukrainian government to assist countries suffering from acute food crises as a result of the war with Russia.
The other two African ambassadors of the initiative are former President of Malawi, Joyce Banda, and Regional Director for Central and West Africa Programmes at the National Democratic Institute, United States of America, Christopher Fomunyoh.
Meanwhile, Head, Office of the President of Ukraine, Andriy Yermak, said since the launch of the initiative in November 2022, more than 30 donor countries have signed up. They include Qatar, Turkey, Japan, Norway, Korea, Canada and the USA. So far, participants have pledged nearly $200m.
In her remarks, Ms Ezekwesili noted that Ukraine’s active and effective initiatives to combat the food crisis were not only on the African continent, but also around the world.
“We are talking about several millions of people around the world, 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.
“This initiative should, therefore, support the continent’s longer-term policy measures for increasing investment and raising agricultural productivity. That is why we and the world really consider Ukraine as a country that, despite the war, is doing such important things to help ensure food security,” she added.