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Economic Impact of Ukraine – Russia Conflict on Mombasa

By Thomas Mukhwana

The European Union (EU) has called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ‘the darkest hours for Europe since World War 2’ as Russia’s military operations have shaken the world economy.

Ukraine’s Ambassador to Kenya, Andrii Priavednyk, yesterday announced a temporary halt of imports and exports to Kenya following the invasion.

“While Russia invades my country, a lot of Ukrainian companies will not be able to export the goods they did before and it will impact not only Kenya, but the whole world,” he said.

Trade plays a big role in the relationship with not only Ukraine but Russia as well. According to the State Statistics Service of Ukraine, bilateral trade between Kenya and Ukraine amounted to Sh10.4billion in 2020.

Russian Export Center reports that Kenya exports about Sh12.85billion, and imports goods worth Sh22.4billion from Russia.

Imports from Ukraine as of 2020 include; iron and steel, cereals, machinery and nuclear reactors, electronic equipment and oil, seed and fruits. A reduction in Ukraine’s port activities could cut the country’s supply to Kenya through the Mombasa Port, thus causing minor reductions in the country’s income.

TOURISM

When it trickles down to tourism, Mombasa County has been at the forefront in establishing friendly relations with Ukraine.

During an honorary consulate state visit at the tourist hub, the County Government of Mombasa announced a partnership with Ukraine that aimed at increasing investments in the county.

In a tweet, Gov. Hassan Joho said, “The consulate will create direct linkage between the people of Ukraine and the people of Mombasa, and further enhance partnerships and investments; especially in the sustainable exploitation of the blue economy, manufacturing, and tourism sector.”

A tourism deal between Mombasa and the Ukrainian City of Odessa was formally signed in January 2021 to boost ties between business communities in the two seaside cities.

In February 2021 Mombasa County signed its second partnership with the Ukrainian government to launch the first charter flight bringing tourists directly to the Moi International Airport.

The partnership that took effect in April 2021 is the first charter flight from Ukraine to Africa, making Mombasa a better option for Ukrainians looking to travel in Africa.

In August 2021, Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska launched a Ukrainian-language audio guide at Fort Jesus to boost Ukrainian tourism to the historical site. Both moves were major steps toward creating mutually beneficial links between the two economies.

Kenya is still recovering from COVID-19 that restricted international travel for more than a year, causing a 43.9% drop in revenue in the tourism sector compared to 2019.

A war that destabilizes Ukraine would deal a huge blow to the plans that were already in place to grow Mombasa’s tourism sector after the pandemic.

While the conflict in Eastern Europe escalates, Kenya is bracing for an even higher rise in commodity prices because of a rise oil prices in the global market. This is just days after the hashtag #lowerfoodprices trended online criticizing the government’s failure to lower the prices of everyday items.

 

economic impact, lower food prices, mombasa, oil prices, port of mombasa, russia, russia-ukraine war, ukraine

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