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Yermak introduces new ambassadors of Grain from Ukraine initiative in Africa

KYIV. Jan 19 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak presented on Thursday the new ambassadors of the Grain from Ukraine initiative in Africa, including the former President of Malawi.

According to the press service of the President’s Office, Yermak stressed that he sees prospects for expanding the project. "To do this, we need reliable partners with local knowledge and extensive connections," stated Yermak.

He introduced the experts who became the first ambassadors of Grain from Ukraine on the African continent. Among them is former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, who is currently active in a number of international organizations, including the Executive Committee of UN Women.

The initiative was also joined by 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.

The third ambassador of Grain from Ukraine is 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 and Regional Director of the National Democratic Institute in Africa. According to the Head of the President’s Office, since the launch of the Grain from Ukraine program in November 2022, more than 30 donor countries have joined the program.

"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," he emphasized.

For her part, Joyce Banda noted that she was proud to join the Grain from Ukraine initiative. "We really need to support and help those countries affected by the Russian-Ukrainian war," she said, noting that with grain shortages due to Russian aggression, many families find it difficult to buy the necessary food.

The former President of Malawi also expressed her support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and declared her readiness to participate in projects that will help end this war.

Oby Ezekwesili noted Ukraine’s active and effective initiatives to combat the food crisis not only on the African continent, but also around the world. "We are talking about millions of people who will receive this support. These people will suffer if they don’t have food on their table," she said, adding that 62 million people in Africa suffer from food insecurity for one reason or another.

"That’s why we and the world really consider Ukraine as a country that, despite the war, is doing such important things to help overcome famine," Banda added.

Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh stated that he and other experts together have the desire and intention to help overcome the food crisis and work for the benefit of Africa.

"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 people of Ukraine for fighting the threat of annexation despite all the difficulties and setting an example for the rest of the world," he said.