Empty basket

Africa’s food insecurity from Ukraine war: Focus of spring IMF, WB meetings

By Julian Pecquet

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Posted on April 21, 2022 15:35

IMF Global Economy
A person stands outside of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) building, during the first day of the World Bank/IMF Spring meetings in Washington, Tuesday, April 19, 2022. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

The Ukraine war’s impact on food insecurity in Africa is high on the agenda this week as finance officials from around the world gather in Washington for the spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

Global food prices rose 12.6% last month to record levels as the Russian invasion ravaged a major breadbasket of the world, exacerbating African countries’ pre-existing economic and debt troubles.

The impact is particularly dire for East Africa, where 13 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia face severe hunger, and West Africa, where the worst food crisis in a decade could leave 38 million suffering from hunger by June.

International institutions and national leaders are scrambling to find answers, with the 2011 Arab Spring protests that rocked the Middle East and North Africa high on everyone’s mind.

“The most troubling impact is of high food prices and food insecurity,” IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva told reporters at a press briefing on Wednesday. “To put it very simply, a war in Europe, in Ukraine, translates into hunger in Africa.”

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