The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina, believes Africa must prepare for the inevitability of a global food crisis brought on by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Adesina mentioned this when speaking about Africa’s goals as a guest at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center on Friday, according to an AfDB statement released on Sunday.
In the face of what he described as a once-in-a-century convergence of global issues facing Africa, the bank’s chief appealed for a greater sense of urgency.
Conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 epidemic, according to Adesina, have wreaked havoc on Africa’s most vulnerable countries, upending economic and development progress.
He said Africa, with the lowest gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates, had lost as many as 30 million jobs on account of the pandemic.
Speaking about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, Adesina expressed sympathy for the people of Ukraine, describing their suffering as unimaginable.
He said the war’s ramifications spread far beyond Ukraine to other parts of the world, including Africa.
He explained that Russia and Ukraine supply 30 percent of global wheat exports, the price of which has surged by almost 50 percent globally, reaching identical levels as during the 2008 global food crisis.
He added that fertilizer prices had tripled, and energy prices had increased, all fuelling inflation.
Adesina warned that the tripling costs of fertilizer, rising energy prices, and rising costs of food baskets, could worsen in Africa in the coming months.
Adesina cautioned that to fend off a food crisis, Africa must rapidly expand its food production.