WEST AFRICA- According to the United Nations food agency, 48 million people will go hungry across western and central Africa in the coming months due to efforts to contain inflation contributing to food shortages.
A regional adviser at the World Food Programme, Ollo Sib, explained that coastal countries such as Togo and Benin have requested food assistance for the first time in a decade, driving the increase in food insecurity in the region to its highest level in a decade. He noted that millions of people in Ghana and the Ivory Coast are also facing hunger.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, food inflation has surged in Africa. Fuel and fertilizer costs increased as a result of the conflict, contributing to double-digit increases in food prices from Nigeria to Ethiopia. Sib said Tuesday in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, that trade restrictions were contributing to staples shortages in the region.
“We have identified 50 different measures taken across the region by all countries that restrict the movement of food and other goods from one country to another and that is having an impact on food supply,” he said.
Based on data collected by the World Food Programme, Burkina Faso has halted grain exports to Niger, Nigeria has halted rice shipments to Benin, and Ivory Coast has halted exports of plantains to Burkina Faso.
According to him, conflict in the Sahel region and climate shocks continues to contribute to food insecurity. WFP has identified 30 localities where food transport has been impeded by insecurity, including Menaka in eastern Mali and Djibo in northern Burkina Faso.