Russian-Ukrainian war may be the boon SA has been waiting for

The article appeared in the Opinion and Analysis section of Business Day (SA) on 27/02/22

The biggest crisis in Europe since World War 2 has sent financial markets on another dizzying roller-coaster ride over the past week. The conflagration in Ukraine has had economists ripping up their forecasts and sent them back to the drawing board.  Predictions were already battered by the uncertainties brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent supply-chain bottlenecks. 

The dominant consensus that is emerging is one of doom and gloom for Africa, with rising prices of crude oil and food staples, especially wheat, feeding into existing instability. This is ominous given the number of military coups already witnessed recently in and around the Sahel region. One need not look too far back in history — just a decade, to 2011-2012 — for a period when a spike in prices caused civil unrest from Nigeria to North Africa and stoked the Arab Spring.

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