© . People flee near a destroyed bridge to cross the Irpin River as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, in Irpin outside Kiev, Ukraine, March 9, 2022. REUTERS/Mikhail Palinchak
By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON () – Rising energy and food prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could exacerbate existing food security concerns in the Middle East and Africa, and fuel growing social unrest, said Carmen Reinhart, chief economist from the World Bank. Germany will host a virtual meeting of agricultural ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies on Friday to discuss the impact of the invasion amid growing concerns about stabilizing food markets. “There will be significant impacts on the Middle East, especially Africa, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa,” which was already battling food insecurity, Reinhart told in an interview. “I don’t want to be melodramatic, but it’s not so far that food insecurity and riots were part of the story behind the Arab Spring,” she said, adding that the number of successful and failed coups had increased over the past two years. The Arab Spring refers to a series of pro-democracy protests and uprisings that took place in the Middle East and North Africa from 2010, starting in Tunisia and expanding to five other countries: Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. . Sudden spikes in food prices can lead to social unrest, as happened in 2007-2008 and again in 2011, when global food price increases were accompanied by riots in more than 40 countries. Agricultural commodities were already 35% higher in January than a year ago and are expected to rise further as a result of the war, as Russia and Ukraine are both major exporters of wheat, maize, barley and sunflower oil, the World Bank reported last month. days after the Russian invasion began. Moscow calls its action in Ukraine a “special operation”. Rising energy and food prices could also prompt policymakers to increase subsidies, experts say, adding to the heavy debts of many low-income countries, of which about 60 are already in or near debt-to-debt. The bank warned last month that the impact could be particularly harsh in the Middle East and North Africa, where countries like Egypt import up to 80% of their wheat from Ukraine and Russia. Mozambique is also a major importer of wheat and oil. Reinhart said the Central Asian countries also faced significant economic challenges, given their close economic and trade ties with Russia, which the International Monetary Fund expects to plunge into recession this year due to Western sanctions. “It has hit their currencies, and there are already signs of a run on banks, confidence problems, coupled with food insecurity and remittances,” she said, citing possible refugee flows as a further complication. Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data on this website is not necessarily real-time or accurate. All CFDs (Stocks, Indices, Futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and therefore prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price meaning prices are indicative and not suitable for trading purposes . Therefore, Fusion Media does not bear any responsibility for any trading losses that you may incur as a result of using this data. Fusion Media or anyone associated with Fusion Media accepts no liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any information, including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals on this website. Be fully informed about the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest forms of investment possible.