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W’Africa faces worst food crisis in 10 years, Oxfam, others warn

By Isa Abdulsalami Ahovi (Jos), Rauf Oyewole (Bauchi) and Ayodele Afolabi (Ado Ekiti)
06 April 2022   |   3:37 am
Eleven international organisations, yesterday, warned: “West Africa is hit by its worst food crisis in a decade, with 27 million people going hungry.”

[FILES] Oxfam’ signage is pictured outside a high street branch of an Oxfam charity shop. / AFP PHOTO / Justin TALLIS

How Ukraine war may impoverish continent, by ex envoy

Eleven international organisations, yesterday, warned: “West Africa is hit by its worst food crisis in a decade, with 27 million people going hungry.”

They added: “This number could rise to 38 million this June – a new historic level and already an increase by more than a third over last year- unless urgent action is taken.”

The organisations are: Oxfam, Action Against Hunger, Save the Children, CARE International, International Rescue Committee (IRC), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Alliance for International Medical Action (ALIMA), Tearfund, World Vision (WV), Handicap International – Humanité & Inclusion and Mercy Corps.

The alert was issued in response to new analyses of the March 2022 Cadre Harmonisé (CH), ahead of the virtual conference on the food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and Lake Chad, organised by the European Union and the Sahel and West Africa Club.

It noted that over the past decade, far from abating, food crises have been increasing across the West African region, including in Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mali, and Nigeria. It said between 2015 and 2022, the number of people in need of emergency food assistance nearly quadrupled, from seven to 27 million.

According to Oxfam’s regional director for West and Central Africa, Assalama Dawalack Sidi, “Cereal production in some parts of the Sahel has dropped by about a third compared to last year. Family food supplies are running out. Drought, floods, conflict, and the economic impacts of COVID-19 have forced millions of people off their land, pushing them to the brink.”

ALSO, a former Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine, Mr. Frank Isoh, advised the United Nations and the world’s super powers to prevent the Russia/Ukraine war from lingering, warning that the backlash was already manifesting in Africa.

Isoh spoke at Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD), yesterday, during a bi-annual Diplomatic Dialogue Titled: ‘Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the Emerging Global Dynamics – Implementations for Africa and the World’.

The event was organised by the university’s Department of International Relations and Diplomacy. Isoh warned: “There will be hunger in Africa, if the war lingers, and increasing fiscal deficit because the price of oil will go up, and the country will borrow money to pay for subsidy, thereby giving unscrupulous people opportunity to shortchange the system.”

He added: “This will certainly have ripple effects on the prices of goods. Food prices, particularly wheat, of which both Russia and Ukraine are substantial exporters, will increase. Nigeria imports a good proportion of her wheat from Russia. The war will have effect on prices of wheat-based products in the long run.

“For Nigeria, there is likely to be an increase in fiscal deficit as a result of mounting subsidy payment on petrol. To meet these mounting subsidy payments on petrol, the country may result to more borrowing and more debts.”

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