Russia’s intervention in Ukraine has put more than 70% of Africa’s economies in jeopardy, according to new information by the United Nations (UN). Several international institutions, including UN specialised agencies and development lenders, are discussing a proposal to enhance food production in Africa and avoid a hefty toll on the continent.
“The war is supercharging a three-dimensional crisis – food, energy and finance – that is pummeling some of the world’s most vulnerable people, countries and economies,” said Anthony Guterres, UN secretary-general, during the establishment of the UN Global Crisis Response Group.
The Global Crisis Response Group will assist decision-makers all across the world in mobilising solutions and developing strategies and proposals to assist all countries, including the most vulnerable, in navigating the interconnected crises. According to preliminary estimates, at least one of the three hazards identified by the Global Crisis Response Group affects as many as 1.7 billion people across 107 economies.
The UN report stipulates that all existing channels should be used immediately and efficiently to assist countries directly affected by the war and its effects. Guterres added that the Global Crisis Response Group’s action plans are aimed mostly at Africa. Africa is one of the continents most exposed to the impending disaster.
The emergency food plan, according to African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina, will build on the success of existing projects like the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative. Drought-resistant maize, heat-resistant wheat, and higher-yielding seed varieties are among the innovations that TAAT has offered to 11 million farmers in 29 African countries.
“If ever there was a time to drastically raise food production in Africa, it is now,” he said.
The African Development Bank’s initiative, according to Adesina, may assist 40 million farmers raise their harvests of heat-tolerant wheat types, rice, soybeans, and other crops. This would feed approximately 200 million people.
‘We need really to have a sense of urgency – restrictions need to be abolished, there should be no hoarding of any of these products and most importantly, we need to use immediately the financial instruments available,” Guterres said.