Bill Gates Responds To “Shock To The System” In Ukraine 

( In an interview on the Rachman Review podcast last week, Bill Gates offered his take on Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and the effects it is having on Africa. 

Gates said the tragedy of the war goes far beyond its effect on the Ukrainian people, explaining that it has been a “shock to the whole system.” He said because of the war, fertilizer has become much more expensive and scarce, forcing some countries to be priced out. 

Gates said Africa is bearing the brunt of the impact of the war, noting that aid to African countries is suffering because the world has become “distracted” by the war in Ukraine. 

When asked about whether the Ukraine war is still impacting food prices, Gates noted that while food prices continue to stay high, they are no longer “at their peak.” At the same time, fertilizer prices are “much higher” since Russia is a primary producer of fertilizer. He said with the supply of fertilizer tight, African nations are using less of it.  

Gates explained that Africa never used the amount of fertilizer it should because it hasn’t been able to afford access to the seeds that thrive in well-fertilized soil. 

Gates said between the lack of fertilizer and African soil quality being lower, the region has a lower level of agricultural productivity than the United States or Europe. He said despite African food production being more varied than any other place on earth, agricultural innovation in the continent is “grossly underfunded.” 

Gideon Rachman asked Gates what could be done to “mitigate the effects” in Africa if the war in Ukraine goes on for a long time. 

Gates said while progress has been made in Africa in recent years, most notably in “childhood health,” there is still “ a lot to do.” He said more foreign aid is needed to get the continent back on track after the pandemic.