Food price surge

Inflation is coming back to Africa, and it’s not going away

By Estelle Maussion

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Posted on March 8, 2022 11:49

Firefox_Screenshot_2022-03-03T14-17-22.469Z In a grocery shop in St. Louis. © Alfredo CALIZ/PANOS-REA
In a grocery shop in St. Louis. © Alfredo CALIZ/PANOS-REA

The prices of most food commodities are soaring on the continent, putting pressure on governments, consumers and the private sector. No short-term solution seems satisfactory.

The price of a 50kg bag of wheat flour has risen from 11,000 to 23,000 CFA francs (€35) in Côte d’Ivoire, the cost of sugar is rising in Senegal, Mali and Mauritania, and the price of a litre of oil and a kilo of potatoes is soaring in Algeria. In traditional markets as well as in supermarkets, the places where the majority of African consumers buy their food, their food shopping bill continues to rise, leading to protests about high living costs.

The situation is particularly tense in North and West Africa and has led several countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, DRC, Algeria – to introduce a number of measures in an effort to protect purchasing power. These include introducing price ceilings, suspending import and customs taxes, lowering VAT, tightening controls on regulated prices, etc.

Although this inflationary surge is part of a global trend (+28% in one year for food prices,

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