The World Bank's $2.3 Billion Program in AfricaOn June 21 2022, The World Bank approved a $2.3 billion program aimed at addressing food insecurity in Southern and Eastern African countries in different phases. Due to factors such as market instability, the war in Ukraine and disease outbreaks, “an estimated 66.4 million people” could face food stress and famine by July 2022. The World Bank’s $2.3 billion program in Africa will utilize systems created to tackle food insecurity. The Food Systems Resilience Program for Eastern and Southern Africa (FSRP) will be used to strengthen “inter-agency food crisis response strategies.” This includes “rapid response planning” and “emergency trade measures.”

Alleviating Food Insecurity

The World Bank’s $2.3 billion initiative in Africa highlights the power of international institutions to help vulnerable populations during difficult times. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine, international institutions such as The World Bank have stepped in to alleviate food insecurity in developing countries. In fact, The World Bank’s $2.3 billion program in Africa “is the first regional and multi-sectoral operation” aimed at tackling food insecurity in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The World Bank hopes to achieve that by “ensuring regional coordination” in confronting food insecurity by focusing on food policy reforms and market volatility. In other words, this is a story of how international institutions uphold human rights by cooperating with countries to make sure every person lives a better life.

The Impact of Food Insecurity on People in Southern and Eastern Africa

Food insecurity has had a devastating effect on the livelihood of people living in Africa. For example, 22.7 million people in Ethiopia are struggling with food insecurity “due to drought.” In fact, the food price index in Ethiopia has increased to 43% alongside an increase in the price of vegetable oil and cereals “by over 89% and 37% year-on-year.”

In Madagascar, between 1 and 2.5 million people are in need of food assistance because of weather disasters such as flooding and storms. Thus, The World Bank’s $2.3 billion program in Africa aims to address these crises and mitigate them.

First Phase of the Program

The first phase of The World Bank’s $2.3 billion program in Africa will address food insecurity in Ethiopia and Madagascar. The World Bank has approved “a total financing package of $788 million that could “benefit 2.3 million people,” as reported on its website. This financing package will support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) “which will strengthen information and data sharing.”

It will also support the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA). This will utilize “its existing networks and outreach tools for regional coordination mechanisms” to help Ethiopia and Madagascar.

Other Efforts to Tackle Food Insecurity in Africa

The World Bank’s $2.3 billion program in Africa is ongoing and more details will be unveiled later. However, more international institutions are also tackling food insecurity in Africa at the same time as The World Bank. For example, since April 1, 2022, The World Food Programme (WFP) “has delivered 100,000 tonnes of food,” to the Tigray region of Ethiopia which was “enough to feed 5.9 million people for a month,” the U.N. News reports. The WFP has also provided emergency food rations to “1.3 million people in Afar and Amhara,” regions of Ethiopia since April 1, 2022.

Though much more aid is needed as global threats persist, The World Bank’s and other international institutions’ efforts in tackling food insecurity in Africa are a step in the right direction.

– Abdullah Dowaihy
Photo: Flickr