African countries have been urged to come up with solutions to mitigate the impact of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict on the continent, the Deputy Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Air Commodore George Kweku Arko-Dadzie, has said.
He said concerns were also rising about the emergence of proxy wars, waning commitment to democratisation and undermining of African multilateralism.
Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie was speaking at a seminar to assess the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Africa in Accra last Wednesday.
The event, which took place at the KAIPTC, was attended by experts, stakeholders and representatives of political parties who shared their perspectives on how armed conflict was affecting Africa.
Impact of the war
One year has passed since the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted, disrupting prices of food and energy around the world and leaving many nations reeling from its shocks.
Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie said the invasion and the ensuing impasse between Russia and the West continue to threaten world peace, adding that it also had the potential to turn Russia into a fortress that would pursue an aggressive foreign policy in Africa and other weaker regions with an agenda to gain allies, markets, raw materials and diversify its external relations.
The deputy commandant added that the isolation of Russia as part of punitive sanctions imposed by the West had affected Africa negatively in the form of rising prices for goods such as wheat, oil and fertilizer.
“We must also not forget that within the diplomatic arena, Africa and Russia will likely face challenges in the near future.
“It may also have some ramifications on African politics as rogue African leaders who do not want to give up their positions as heads of state may seek Russian backing which could further threaten the peace and security on the continent,” Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie said.
The deputy commandant further said that the US, European and other Western governments were closely watching and analysing Africa’s response to crisis and their position on it.
The sharp divide, he said, was evident in African votes at the UN on the raging conflict.
While some nations denounced Russian aggression, others adopted a non-aligned stance while other nations chose not to participate in the vote, Air Commodore Arko-Dadzie said.
“As we deliberate on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and its ramifications on Africa, it is my hope that ideas and solutions to mitigate any future effects on Africa will be proffered,” he said.
On security, the Deputy Director of the Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research (FAAR) at the centre, Dr Emma Birikorang, said the West Africa sub-region was very fragile such that issues that happened outside Africa tended to have an impact on the region.
She mentioned how the Wagner group of Russia was now protecting certain regimes such as those in Mail and the Central Africa Republic, including providing protection to some heads of state or transitional governments.
As a result, she said, such actions had enabled those governments to defy the authority of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) without fear of any repercussions or sanctions.