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Russia-Ukraine War: AfDB earmarks $1.5b for Africa Emergency Food Plan

By Terhemba Daka, Collins Olayinka and Joke Falaju, Abuja
27 April 2022   |   2:51 am
The crisis rocking Ukraine might have begun taking a toll on Nigeria and Africa, a development that appears to have prompted Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to earmark $1.5 billion

Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group REUTERS/Luc Gnago

As Nigeria, Britain begin talks on £3.2b trade partnership
• Food insecurity to increase by 20% in Nigeria, others, WMO warns

The crisis rocking Ukraine might have begun taking a toll on Nigeria and Africa, a development that appears to have prompted Africa Development Bank (AfDB) to earmark $1.5 billion for an Africa Emergency Food Plan.

The plan, however, awaits ratification of the AfDB board.

AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, who met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday, said owing to the war, the price of wheat has gone up about 60 per cent.

He said maize and other grains would not be spared from the crisis, even as there could also be a fertiliser crunch, resulting in a two million metric tons deficit.

He said: “To prepare against the evil day, AfDB has developed a $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Plan, which is now before the bank’s board for approval. It will affect food production by about 20 per cent. Africa will lose $11 billion worth of food, and coming shortly after COVID-19, that would be rather serious.”

Buhari said the management of AfDB deserved accolades for planning ahead of negative consequences that may come from the war in terms of food security.

“Thank you for knowing our weaknesses and our strengths, and for planning and working ahead,” Buhari said.

He added: “We are very much aware of the need for food security, and to encourage our local farmers, that was why we closed our borders for about two years to curb smuggling. We made some progress.”

Adesina said the war would create global problems, particularly for Africa, which imports a huge percentage of its food from the two countries.

Talking in Nigeria, the former Minister of Agriculture said in the wet season of 2022, at least five million smallholder farmers would be helped to cultivate one million hectares of maize, one million hectares of rice, and 250,000 hectares of sorghum and soybeans.

“In total, our support will help Nigeria produce 9.5 million metric tons of food.”

THIS came as the UK and Nigeria held trade and investment talks, yesterday, at the Economic and Development Forum (EDF) in London, to promote trade as a force for good and boost partnerships worth over £3 billion.

At the Forum, both countries noted increased support for small and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria, including the UK Manufacturing Africa programme, which has helped 12 firms in Nigeria secure foreign investment.

A statement by the British Embassy in Nigeria, in Abuja, said when the deals conclude, they will generate over $300 million in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Nigeria and directly create 5,000 jobs.

MEANWHILE, World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that food insecurity may increase by five to 20 per cent in sub-Saharan Africa, given the increasing spate of flash floods in the region.

According to the organisation, the WMO State of the Climate in Africa 2020 IPCC report revealed a grim future for Africa with regards to climate change, as the warming trend for 1991-2020 was higher than it was in 1961-1990.

The report warned that the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation will increase almost everywhere on the continent with additional global warming.