By Ajong Mbapndah L
Dr Christopher Fomunyoh, Regional Director for Central and West Africa Programs at the National Democratic Institute (USA), who has led international election observation missions and managed democracy support programs in many countries on the African continent has been made an Ambassador of Grain from Ukraine initiative in Africa.
Andrei Yermak, the Chief of the Ukrainian Presidential Office, introduced the new Ambassadors who included Dr Joyce Banda, former President of Malawi, who is currently active in several international organizations, including the Executive Committee of UN Women and Dr Oby Ezekwesili, former Minister of Education of Nigeria and former Vice President of the World Bank, who is currently a Senior Advisor at the Africa Economic Development Policy Initiative .
The former adjunct professor of African politics and government at Georgetown University Dr Christopher Fomunyoh stated: “I reaffirm my commitment to working with you to achieve results. Our hearts are full of sympathy for the people of Ukraine.” “We would like to express our respect to President Zelensky, the government and the people of Ukraine for fighting the threat of annexation despite all the difficulties and setting an example for the rest of the world,” Dr Fomunyoh said.
An expert on democratization in Africa, Dr Fomunyoh is not new to the challenges that befall the African continent having spent decades of his life championing democracy, and good governance on the continent and his home country, Cameroon. From leading international election observation missions in Nigeria, to online, in-person discussions about the peace process in multiple African countries like Mali, Burkina Faso , Guinea, Niger, Nigeria , and others, Fomunyoh has played a leading role enhancing and sustaining democracies across the African continent.
Since the launch of the Grain from Ukraine Initiative in November 2022, more than 30 donor countries have joined the program . EU countries, Qatar, Turkey, Japan, Norway, Korea, Canada and the United States are amongst the leading participants with pledges of about $200 million.
“We see the prospect of expanding the project. To do this, we need reliable partners with local knowledge and extensive connections,” stated Andriy Yermak, Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine. “The goal is to provide grain to at least 5 million people by the end of this spring. And this is just the beginning of a global humanitarian corridor for countries facing the threat of famine. And it is because of Russia that the famine is happening.”
Before the full-scale Russian invasion, Ukraine’s share in the global grain trade was 10 per cent. The country was the 4th largest grain exporter in the world, ahead of all EU member states, and provided the UN World Food Program with about 40 per cent of wheat for countries experiencing serious food shortages.
According to Andriy Yermak, since the Ukrainian nation experienced several terrible waves of Holodomor in the last century, and about 15 million Ukrainians died of the famine artificially created by the Soviet authorities, our state understands well all those who have problems with food and therefore does not stand aside and even in difficult times tries to help them.