The World Bank has expressed concerns that the coup d’état in Niger could create additional pressure on the food markets of Nigeria and other West African nations.
In its September ‘Food Security Update,’ the bank pointed out that the coup puts an additional seven million people at risk of severe food insecurity in the region. This comes at a time when commodity and staple food prices are soaring, and 3.3 million people are already experiencing severe food insecurity during the lean season.
The report highlighted that the coup in Niger might further strain West African food markets. It noted that food prices in Niger rose by up to 21 percent in August due to economic and financial sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union. These sanctions have limited poor households’ access to food and their ability to meet their dietary needs.
The World Bank emphasized that continued provision of food aid by the World Food Programme is essential because access restrictions are hindering the delivery of aid. With the government’s limited financial capacity to implement its food assistance program, external assistance is crucial.
Furthermore, the report predicted that shortages of seeds and feed, along with high fertilizer costs, would impact the next agriculture season, exacerbating food insecurity, which is expected to persist beyond the lean season. The Bank also highlighted that Western and Central Africa are facing persistent food crises, with the number of people in need of food and nutritional assistance steadily increasing.
Between June and August 2023, 42.5 million people in Nigeria and other West African countries were in a food crisis or worse. The main contributing factors to food insecurity in the region include civil insecurity, conflict, forced displacement, climatic shocks, and political instability. Additionally, the war in Ukraine has increased the volatility of food and commodity prices, leading to widespread inflation, with current food prices remaining higher than the same period last year.