The World Bank has cautioned that political instability and violence together with disruptions in global trade, especially in the Middle East, might intensify food insecurity challenges in Nigeria and other countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
The disclosure was made known in the Global Economic Prospect report, where the World Bank offered insights into its economic outlook for 2024.
According to the report, “An escalation of the conflict in the Middle East could exacerbate the situation in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries in terms of food insecurity. A conflict-induced sustained oil price spike would not only raise food prices by increasing production and transportation costs but could also disrupt supply chains, leading to less affordable food and an uptick in malnutrition rates in the region.
“Although global food and energy prices have retreated from their peaks in 2022, disruptions to global or local trade and production could reignite consumer price inflation, especially food price inflation, throughout the region. Such disruptions, especially in mining and agriculture, could be triggered by extreme weather events linked partly to climate change.”
Also, it noted that countries that rely heavily on China as an export destination for these commodities would be hit especially hard by slower-than-projected Chinese growth.
“Global growth could weaken more than expected, perhaps owing to tighter financing conditions or further deterioration in China’s growth. In such a scenario, the prices of many of SSA seaport commodities, especially metals and minerals, could weaken. Countries that rely heavily on China as an export destination for these commodities would be hit especially hard by slower-than-projected Chinese growth.”
Furthermore, the multilateral lender explained the vulnerability of the Sub-Saharan Africa region to extreme weather events linked to climate change, such as floods and droughts. These events could contribute to an increase in food inflation, particularly as many farmers in the region practice subsistence agriculture.
Recall that the Food and Agricultural Organisation, as of October 2023, has warned that around 26.5 million Nigerians are at risk of hunger in 2024.
Already, food inflation has blown over the roof in Nigeria. The NBS also revealed that Nigeria’s food inflation for November stood at 32.84 per cent.