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Analysis on the global food crisis

By Céline Boulenger - Economist
“Bread, freedom, social justice!” was one of the most common chants among protestors during the uprising in Egypt over a decade ago. Today, a global food catastrophe is looming, bringing back memories of past social unrest.

Disruption of food exports

As Russia and Ukraine are major commodity exporters, the war has been taking a toll on global food supply chains. Both are major food producers, supplying 12% of globally traded calories. More than 30 countries depend on them for at least 30% of their wheat import needs. The war has hurt global food supply chains, which caused a surge in prices by creating a significant supply shortage. This situation has major implications for some low- and middle-income countries. The number of people who can't get enough food daily has reached 1,6bn.

Climate change and energy shock

Even before the war, the situation was precarious. The World Food Programme talked about 2022 as a ‘terrible year’. Climate change was already hurting food production, and the world suffered from a major energy shock.
Countries in the Middle East and North Africa that rely heavily on wheat for food needs are the most at risk of food insecurity. Also, countries are vulnerable when populations spend much of their incomes on food (sub-Saharan Africa).. Moreover, many major food importers are also major oil importers meaning the cost-of-living crisis is two-fold.

International aid needed

Global solutions are needed to fight this worldwide crisis and avoid a remake of the Arab Spring of 2011 and a further surge in global poverty.

Interested in the views of our experts? Discover also Celine Boulenger’s previous video.
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