West Africa faces worsening food crisis: experts

accreditation
0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Grocery food basket. (Getty)
Grocery food basket. (Getty)
  • Nearly 20 million people face a food crisis in West Africa and the Sahel region as the vast area is torn by conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic, experts warned.
  • The situation could worsen between June and August, with as many as 27 million people needing immediate food aid.
  • In Nigeria alone, 12.8 million people could face a food crisis "or worse" this summer, according to the Food Crisis Prevention Network.


Nearly 20 million people face a food crisis in West Africa and the Sahel region as the vast area is torn by conflicts and the coronavirus pandemic, experts warned Thursday.

The situation could worsen between June and August, with as many as 27 million people needing immediate food aid, or nearly one in ten people in 14 countries, the experts said.

In Nigeria alone, 12.8 million people could face a food crisis "or worse" this summer, according to the Food Crisis Prevention Network, which includes representatives of governments, NGOs, lenders and UN agencies.

Nigeria has faced conflicts with jihadists in the northeast, armed gangs in the northwest as well as dealing with communal strife in central regions, separatist tensions in the southeast and piracy in the nearby Gulf of Guinea.

The tri-border region of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali has also been plagued by Islamic extremist violence against civilians for years.

In addition to conflict, the displacement of 5.6 million people, weak economies and the pandemic have worsened food shortages in the region, according to the network.

Nearly three million people could face a food crisis in Burkina Faso in the coming months, 2.3 million in Niger, 1.8 million each in Chad and Sierra Leone, 1.3 million in Mali and nearly one million in Liberia.

The network was created to analyse the food situation in the region and help governments and donors find responses to the problem.

But several officials said humanitarian aid was not the only answer.

"It is crucial for us to change the way we manage crises," said Niger's former prime minister Ibrahim Mayaki, honorary president of the Sahel and West Africa Club.

"It is essential we change the way we deal with crises. It means investing in the long term to address the root causes of famine and malnutrition," Mayaki said.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Rand - Dollar
17.38
+0.1%
Rand - Pound
21.41
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
18.92
-0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.30
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
-0.0%
Platinum
1,002.52
-1.0%
Palladium
1,638.67
-0.6%
Gold
1,924.38
-0.2%
Silver
23.48
-1.0%
Brent Crude
85.46
+1.1%
Top 40
73,867
+0.6%
All Share
79,954
+0.6%
Resource 10
75,414
-0.6%
Industrial 25
103,027
+0.7%
Financial 15
16,418
+1.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Company Snapshot
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE
Government tenders

Find public sector tender opportunities in South Africa here.

Government tenders
This portal provides access to information on all tenders made by all public sector organisations in all spheres of government.
Browse tenders