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First Ship of Grain to Africa Since Ukraine War

By Abu Muhammad

The first ship carrying grain from Ukraine to Africa since the war began has docked in Djibouti.

Djibouti is a tiny country with a population of 900,000 but it has one of the busiest ports on the continent.

The MV Brave Commander carried 23,000 tonnes of Ukrainian wheat that is bound for neighbouring Ethiopia.

It took two weeks to travel from a Black Sea port in Ukraine to Djibouti. This wheat is meant to feed 1.5 million people in Ethiopia for a month.

The wheat is only for aid agencies and will not be sold in shops and supermarkets.

The U.N. says 2.4 million in Tigray alone are severely food insecure and that 20 million people across Ethiopia face hunger. As a result of its worst drought in forty years.

Ukraine and Russia reached a deal with Turkey and the UN last month to open a corridor allowing for food shipments.

Ethiopia, along with other countries in the region, is experiencing a prolonged drought with four failed rainy seasons.

The draught, together with the continued civil war in the northern Tigray region, has left some 20 million people in need of food assistance.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), it will take about a week for the wheat to be bagged and taken by road to Ethiopia.

Somalia has been especially hard hit because it sourced at least 90% of its grain from Ukraine and Russia before Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Food security experts have said it will take weeks for people in African countries to see grain from Ukraine arrive and even longer to see it bring down high food prices that have been a source of despair and protests in multiple nations.

The flow of grain from Ukraine to other hungry parts of the world is expected to continue, with another ship departing Tuesday for Yemen.

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