Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most African countries avoided open alignment with either Russia or Ukraine, favoring a wait-and-see approach until the situation’s consequences for African households, energy security, and the agricultural sector became more evident. Using the nexus between world systems and dependency theories as an analytical tool, this study examines how African governments have responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and how the continent has been affected by the war. This examination is accomplished via a qualitative analysis of primary data such as reports issued by independent international organizations, think tanks, and media houses. Furthermore, the analysis is complemented by secondary sources such as media reports and expert crisis analysis. This study argues that although Africa as a continent and African women in particular, by virtue of occupying the periphery of world politics, have been marginalized in decision-making regarding the war, they have nevertheless been negatively impacted by the war. Lacking agency in world affairs, the continent has responded to the war in a disjointed way without considering the voices and input of African women, who are increasingly bearing the brunt of the global impact of the war. Consequently, Africa, led by patriarchal leadership via the African Union (AU), has struggled to abide by its continental charter principles of noninterference and remain committed to its tradition of nonalignment in international affairs. The continent has not been impervious to the negative impact of the conflict because of its structural dependence on countries in the global core. Politically, the war has resulted in further marginalization of the continent and its women due to the continent’s lack of agency. Economically, the conflict has led to rising energy costs, inflation, and food insecurity, all of which disproportionately affect African women. Socially, the conflict has disrupted the academic life of African students in Ukraine, with women students particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence. The research calls for the inclusion of more African women’s voices in decision-making at the AU, as African women and girls bear the brunt of most global crises such as war.

Author Biography

Osman Antwi-Boateng is an Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the Department of Government & Society at United Arab Emirates University. Prior to this, he served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at St. Lawrence University, New York. He earned his Ph.D. in Political Science and International Relations from University of Delaware, a Master’s degree in International Affairs from Ohio University-Athens, and a second Master’s degree in International Security from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington, D.C. His research interests are in international security, African political economy and security, and Middle Eastern political economy and security. Email ID: antwiboateng@gmail.com

Mohammed Huwaishel Al Nuaimi is an accomplished political science student and researcher at the Department of Government & Society at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) with an exceptional academic record. He is a distinguished Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholar at New York University Abu Dhabi where he was valedictorian among his cohort. His research interests are in Arabian Gulf politics, security and foreign policy, UAE foreign policy towards the great powers, and UAE soft power. He has provided timely research support on contemporary international issues such as the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the Russia-Ukraine war. Email ID: Mohammed_h10@outlook.com