Expert Expresses Optimism Despite Fear of Looming Food Crisis in Africa
Despite the fear of a looming food crisis, an expert has expressed optimism that African countries can avoid the worst as long as governments at all levels and international financial institutions step up to take charge of agricultural production. Specifically, the African Development Bank’s Acting Chief Economist, Kevin Urama who stated this during a media briefing in Washington on Wednesday, described AfDB’s new $1.5 billion emergency funding mechanism as key to preventing such a crisis in Africa. He said, “In Africa, the food crisis can be averted. We are very optimistic that it will happen.” Also, Urama stated that Africa can fill the gap left by the lack of wheat and other exports from Ukraine and Russia, pointing out that the continent is sitting on 60% of the remaining arable land in the world. “Africa can become a food basket for the world,” he added. Furthermore, the economist explained that climate change and food security are linked, saying shifting weather patterns are partially at fault for high food prices. According to him, the price of lots of staple food crops have gone up very significantly because of the geopolitical tensions, one of which is the Russia-Ukraine war, “but [also] several other patterns including shifting climate patterns, droughts, and other forms of fragility,” Urama noted. Meanwhile, AgroNigeria had reported that the multilateral bank approved the $1.5 billion emergency funding mechanism to increase agricultural production on the continent, including the introduction of new technology to farmers to boost crop yields and plummet food prices.