UN warns against Red Sea crisis escalation, as disrupted shipping prompts Africa price concerns

The United Nations has warned against escalation in the Red Sea following multiple airstrikes by US and UK forces targeting Houthi rebels in Yemen who have vowed fierce retaliation.
“These developments in the Red Sea and the risk of exacerbating regional tensions are alarming,” the UN Assistant Secretary-General, Khaled Khiari, has said, calling for the UN Security Council to continue its efforts to prevent the escalation of the conflict in the Middle East. This comes as US Navy on Friday (12 January) warned American-flagged vessels to steer clear of areas around Yemen in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden for the next 72 hours. US military and White House officials also said they expected the Houthis to try to strike back after the Iranian-backed rebel group vowed fierce retaliation for the US-led bombardment, which further increases the prospect of a wider conflict in the region.
The US warning to international shipping companies will likely further aggravate the disruption to global supply chains caused by Houthi attacks on Red Sea shipping. This could hit African countries, including Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Egypt, struggling with rising prices. The prospect of a wider conflict is expected to further drive up inflation and raise the prices of essential commodities such as oil and gas, posing problems for import-heavy African countries who are already struggling with a large trade deficit and rising prices. For ships traveling from Asia to Europe or North America, the diversion — to reroute from the Red Sea to sail around the Cape of Good Hope — adds around 6,000 nautical miles to the journey and can delay delivery times by up to a month.

Share This