Journalism of Courage

Russia-Ukraine war: Nigeria, Egypt, others may face civil unrest, food crisis — AfDB President, Adesina

“If we do not intervene now and support Africa to produce the food, we could easily be looking at a looming food crisis and a potential for civil unrest.

Food crisis and civil unrest loom in Africa following the ongoing Russia- Ukraine, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwunmi Adesina has alerted.

According to Adesina, the sudden shortage of wheat, maize and other grains imported from Russia and Ukraine could spark civil unrest in Africa as food supply chains are tested again on the heels of a global pandemic.

The International Grains Council said that Russia and Ukraine, at war since February 24, 2022 account for almost a quarter of the world’s wheat exports and one fifth of the world’s barley exports.

Since the start of February, prices of grains have jumped from anywhere between 22 per cent to 37 per cent.

“If we do not intervene now and support Africa to produce the food, we could easily be looking at a looming food crisis and a potential for civil unrest.

“Because when people can’t buy food, then you are going to have a lot of civil unrest,” Adesina said in an interview with the National monitored by Persecondnews.com.

“Now, let me explain that Russia’s exports to Africa are about $4 billion a year, 90 per cent of that is actually wheat. If you take the case of Ukraine, their exports are roughly $4.5bn a year.”

Adesina spoke on the sidelines of the World Government Summit held in Dubai.

He said: “Most of that is wheat and maize. Ukraine alone accounts for 31 per cent of the maize imports for the African countries.

“So, you can see that the effect on Africa is going to be very, very serious. Many countries like Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya will have a lot of problems.”

Adesina also disclosed that there is a yawning gap between the production of cereal crops and consumption of growing populations on the continent, which puts the region at risk of food insecurity and necessitates a major expansion of agricultural investments and adoption of new technologies.

He, however, announced that the AfDB has formulated a $1billion emergency food production plan for Africa to mitigate the impact of the European war.

“We will reach 20 million farmers with technologies to produce wheat as well as rice and they will produce 30 million metric tons of food with a value of $12bn,” Adesina said.

A third consecutive year of poor rains is posing a major threat to food security in countries already facing natural resource limitations, conflict, the Covid-19 pandemic and locust swarms.

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