February 5, 2023

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Wheat crisis weakens Africa

In fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), between 2018 and 2020, 32% of wheat came from Russia and 12% from Ukraine. These two countries, which share almost half of the imports, are today causing a deep food crisis that the poor and emerging countries will suffer in the short term, as stocks are low, if not non-existent, especially in countries that are highly dependent. on international aid. “At least 25 African countries, including many least developed countries, import more than a third of their wheat from the two countries, and 15 of them import more than half,” said a statement issued by the FAO. Today, in the face of this war that has lasted for more than five weeks, the food balance of these countries is threatened.

A situation that is getting worse in the face of a war that has faltered over time, causing chain crises, as in Africa, which today pays the heavy price of Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
In this sense, according to FAO, “the global number of undernourished people could rise from 8 to 13 million in 2022/23 […] If the war continues, the effects will far exceed that.”
Alarming predictions threaten to destabilize several regions of the world by delivering a fatal blow to the most fragile economies, which will depend on the goodwill of the United States of America and the European Union to provide them with emergency aid.

In this configuration, the US has announced that it wants to provide more than $11 billion (10 billion euros) over the next five years, while the European Union has said it is ready to allocate at least 2.5 billion euros to international cooperation on nutrition for the period 2021-2024. Which, according to observers, is absolutely insufficient to save entire countries from declared famine.

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Along the same lines, the United Nations has responded through the World Food Program, which intends to release $595 million to deal with the emergency. Finally, the IMF “stands ready to assist African countries in dealing with the repercussions of the war, accompanying them in the design and implementation of reforms by advising them, contributing to the development of their capacities and granting them loans,” said Director General, Kristalina Georgieva.
Whatever the case, while you wait for those promises to be fulfilled, Africa once again finds itself at the center of the storm.

Abdul Haq Najeeb
journalist