BUSINESS leaders from across the region are attending the Hybrid International Symposium starting today in Victoria Falls that seeks to proffer solutions to minimise shocks caused by Russia/Ukraine war, which has already caused massive supply chain disruptions.
The symposium is running from today ending on Thursday at the Elephant Hills Hotel under the theme “Ameliorating risks and maximising safety to governments and businesses for sustainable development.”
Economists say the impact of the Russia-Ukraine has potential to derail the economic outlook for Zimbabwe and the rest of the region especially with regards to grain, fertilisers and fuel supplies.
In Zimbabwe, prices of goods have already gone up drastically with looming shortages anticipated as segments fail to copy with pressure piled by the effects of the war.
With the absence of a cessation to the conflict, logistical delays will continue to disrupt the flow of materials into the sub-region while other goods may fail to arrive.
Several local businesses have already highlighted the knock-on effect the conflict has caused to operations.
“The symposium is going to focus on the Russia and Ukraine conflict risks which are now affecting the global village as the cost of living is going up. Fuel is now scarce and very expensive as the major producer is under sanctions.
“The ripple effect is being felt in all sectors of the global village. Today, if America is now queuing up for fuel what will happen to developing countries Africa in the next six months to come?
“A disaster is looming and this event is meant to find quick fix solutions to the world economic crisis at hand,” said organisers of the event Global Renaissance Investments (GRI) chief executive officer Ngoni Dzirutwe.
Prior the conflict, Russia was the second largest producer of ammonia after China while Ukraine was ranked 18th based on production statistics for 2020. The conflict is therefore expected to contract supply of ammonia and hence cause a spike in its prices in Zimbabwe, which is a net importer of the commodity.
In terms of grain, Russia is the third largest producer of wheat while Ukraine is ranked 9th in the world and the two countries combined account for about 15 percent of the world’s wheat production.
The conflict will disrupt supply chains and affect wheat delivery not only into Zimbabwe but across the region.
According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the challenges in accessing Russian and Ukrainian markets will also result in high prices for wheat as demand increases.
“Thus, this will also create inflation build ups in Zimbabwe,” said CZI in their annual economic and business outlook.
Dzirutwe said faced with such challenges, it was imperative for regional stakeholders to congregate and deliberate on ways to cushion the region from a potential calamity.
“Food security as from 2022 is also under major threat since the key inputs comes from Russia. Europe is going to be hard hit as from next year as the fuel and gas are going to be unaffordable. Hence the international symposium is going to proffer some of the next best alternatives.
“Businesses and governments have to put heads together and fight the exogenous factors,” he said. Key speakers will be drawn from transport and logistics sector, Africa Advisory Services, broadcasters as well as the World Bank officials. -BH24