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Russia-Ukraine: A balancing act for Macky Sall, the voice of Senegal and the AU

By Mawunyo Hermann Boko

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Posted on March 16, 2022 16:39

What role should Africa play in resolving the Ukrainian conflict? Current African Union (AU) chairperson Macky Sall is determined to be the voice of the continent in terms of this war. On 9 March, the Senegalese head of state spoke “at his own initiative” with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin “to call for a lasting ceasefire in Ukraine”. The telephone call came as the conflict stretched into its twentieth day.

“By calling Putin, Macky Sall wants to position himself as a credible referee between Russia and Ukraine,” said a diplomatic source. For the ceremonial head of the AU, there is of course a symbolic and diplomatic stake in his desire to weigh in on a conflict that, despite being played out thousands of kilometres from Dakar and Addis Ababa, remains the focus of global attention and is polarising the international community. There is also an economic and social need. Africa knows that it will not escape the economic consequences of this war.

Since the first hours of the conflict, the price of a barrel of oil has risen sharply, reaching a peak of $129 on 8 March. Although it is now hovering around $100, the price is still at a level not seen since September 2014.

Counting the costs

These fluctuations will have an impact on the energy bills of non-producing countries and will lead to an

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