Many accuse Russian President Vladimir Putin of using hunger as a weapon. Because the Russian army is preventing Ukraine from delivering its wheat in large quantities. Putin is trying to make himself more important than he is.

“Putin is trying very hard these days to get approval for his policies on the African continent. He’s also successful with it,” says stern reporter Marc Goergen in the 295th episode of the podcast “Today Important”. Because many heads of government from poorer countries on the African continent are fighting an acute famine. The corona pandemic, extreme drought and the war in Ukraine mean that in Somalia, for example, hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of starvation. And then Vladimir Putin appears and promises humanitarian aid to these countries.

But this doesn’t happen just like that, Putin expects loyalty or at least no dissenting votes, explains former South Africa correspondent Marc Goergen: “When the votes in the United Nations came to condemn the Russian actions, there were a lot of people African countries included. Also countries like South Africa, which we would tend to put in the western camp based on our gut feeling.” As a result, Russian President Vladimir Putin is simply building up his network of friendly states elsewhere: “Hunger is just one component he’s playing with. It’s more about the Russian President wanting to be present around the world again, and that’s where Africa is for an important future market for him,” said Goergen in the podcast “important today”.

The fourth rainy season in a row has already failed

In addition to the war in Ukraine, the climate crisis is a major problem: “This year we have lost the fourth rainy season in a row, especially in countries like Kenya, Somalia and southern Ethiopia,” says Marc Goergen, describing the delicate situation. Actually, people in eastern Kenya traditionally eat “Ugali” corn porridge, but climate change has made it so dry that corn no longer grows in this region. Goergen has visited the regions several times and in the podcast advocates showing the residents alternatives to alleviate the famine and minimize dependencies such as that from Russia: “You have to help people to redesign their cultivation. To rely more on plants , which can endure drought better than the very water-loving corn.”

Your subscription to “Important today”

Don’t miss an episode of “Today’s Important” by subscribing to our podcast on: Audio Now, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Deezer, Castbox or your favorite podcast app. If you have any questions or suggestions, please write to us at