The top U.N. trade official told Reuters on Wednesday that the organization is collaborating with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to develop a platform to facilitate transactions for Russian supplies of grain and fertilizer to Africa.
According to a deal reached in July of last year, the U.N. must assist Russia for the next three years in removing any barriers to its exports of grains and fertilizer. It was struck at the same time as an agreement permitting the secure export of food and fertilizer from Ukraine across the Black Sea following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
The agreements were made because both nations produce grain and fertilizer for international markets, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, and because the United Nations claimed that the war had made the global food situation worse.
Rebeca Grynspan, who oversees the U.N. agreement with Russia, stated in an interview that the agreement continues to “be a life line for food security” all over the world and added, “We have not turned the corner on this.”
Last week, the Black Sea agreement was extended for a third time after Russia agreed to an additional two months. Moscow, though, has threatened to leave if a list of conditions to better its own exports of food and fertilizer are not reached.
The sanctions imposed by the West over the invasion of Ukraine do not apply to Russia’s agricultural exports, but Moscow claims that the restrictions have a wider chilling effect on payments, logistics, and insurance. Russia’s accusations have been disregarded by the United States and others.
Grynspan stated that she was collaborating with Afreximbank to help small and medium-sized African nations access Russian grain and fertilizer through “more agile transactions” and counteract disrupted trade.
In order to comply with the sanctions while still allowing for the transactions of food and fertilizer with Africa, she added, “We are working with them (Afreximbank) and creating a platform that will allow for a more agile due diligence with the customers.”
Afreximbank, based in Cairo, was unavailable for comment right away. As the conversation goes on, Grynspan withheld any additional information.
In June, the European Commission disconnected Rosselkhozbank, a Russian agricultural bank, from the SWIFT global payment system. Although the EU has stated it was not considering the reinstatement of Russian banks, Moscow wants it to be reconnected.
As a substitute, American bank JPMorgan Chase & Co. has handled several Russian grain export payments and may handle dozens more, sources told Reuters last month. But, Russia has rejected this as being unsuitable in the long run.
Russian fertilizer in the amount of 260,000 metric tonnes has also become blocked in many European ports. Moscow declared that the fertilizer would be given to underdeveloped nations.
The first two cargoes, which went to Malawi and Kenya, were released with assistance from the United Nations. According to Grynspan, deliveries were also scheduled for Nigeria, maybe Sri Lanka, and South Africa.