The World Bank has said about 7 million people stand the risk of falling into food insecurity over the coup in Niger and the subsequent sanctions by ECOWAS.
The Bretton Woods Institute said the coup in Niger would likely mount additional pressure on the region’s food markets.
In its September Food Security update and the bank’s response to the challenges, it pointed out that against a backdrop of soaring commodity and staple food prices and severe food insecurity affecting 3.3 million people during the lean season, the Nigerien coup d’état puts an additional 7 million people at risk of falling into severe food insecurity.
“As a response to the coup, the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union have imposed a series of economic and financial sanctions on the country, with implications for the food security of Niger’s population,” it said.
It, further, noted that in West Africa, the population of people in need of food assistance had risen from 10.7 million in 2019 to almost 40 million in 2022, attributing the causes of the region’s food insecurity to “civil insecurity and conflict, which have led to forced displacement; climatic shocks; political instability; the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; and the war in Ukraine.
The bank projected that food prices including major staple foods will see an increase in the near term on the back of this geopolitical and economic malaise.
According to the report, “Current food prices of the main staple and imported food products remain higher than during the same period last year.”
The World Bank noted that it already has a couple of interventions aimed at boosting food systems in the region.
“The $766 million West Africa Food Systems Resilience Program is working to increase preparedness against food insecurity and improve the resilience of food systems in West Africa.
“The program is increasing digital advisory services for agriculture and food crisis prevention and management, boosting adaption capacity of agriculture system actors, and investing in regional food market integration and trade to increase food security,” it said.
It also noted that there is an additional $345 million under preparation for Togo and Sierra-Leone.