Savings of The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is expected to experience slower growth in 2023 as double-digit food price increases put additional pressure on poor households and food insecurity could affect generations, according to a recent World Bank report on the region.
is titled « Disrupted Rules: The Long-Term Consequences of Inflation and Food Insecurity in the Middle East and North Africa Region»The MENA Economic News Bulletin forecasts a decline in regional GDP from 5.8% in 2022 to 3% in 2023.
Oil-exporting countries benefit from oil wealth in 2022, although there is a significant gap between high-income countries and other regions, their growth will be slower. Real GDP growth per capita, a better measure of living standards, is expected to slow from 4.4 percent in 2022 to 1.6 percent in 2023.
Inflation in the region has increased dramatically in 2022, especially in countries with devalued currencies. have Analysis The report found that the impact of rising food prices on food insecurity is particularly significant in eight countries On that day 16 have experienced double-digit or higher inflation, which hits poorer households harder because they spend more of their budgets on food than richer households.
Especially in oil importing countries like Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, the currency depreciates. leading to higher levels of inflation against the dollar. Current accounts of these countries are misused Rising food and oil prices, most of which are imported. This shock coincided with high debt levels and a deterioration in global financial conditions.
«Rising food prices can be disastrous for poor families. Food insecurity can have long-term, multigenerational consequences.declares Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for the MENA Region.The human and economic cost of inaction is enormous, and bold policies are needed in a region where youth make up more than half of the population.“, he adds.
Average food inflation in 16 economies in the MENA region between March and December 2022 was 29% year-on-year, the semi-annual report reveals. This is higher than headline inflation, which averaged 19.4% year-on-year over the same period, compared with 14.8% between October 2021 and February 2022. Ukraine is Russia.
Among the four subgroups of the MENA region covered by the report—oil-importing developing countries, oil-exporting developing countries, countries in conflict, and GCC countries—inflation is projected to increase food insecurity by 24% to 33% in 2023.
«The report estimates that one in five people living in developing countries in the MENA region could suffer from food insecurity this year, with around 8 million children under the age of 5 among the cohort facing hunger. Even temporary food price inflation can cause long-term and often irreversible damageHe says Roberta Catti is the World Bank’s Chief Economist for the MENA Region.
According to the report, food price increases between March and June 2022 may have increased the risk of child stunting in developing countries by 17% to 24%, representing 200,000 to 285,000 new additional births. More generally, studies show that malnutrition in children leads to poor school performance, low income and health problems.
«Research provides clear evidence that a Inadequate nutrition in utero and during infancy can disrupt the fate of children and reduce their chances of thriving», Collaboration tumor.
Projected funding calls for billions of dollars a year to address acute food insecurity, but the report demonstrates that money alone is not enough. It therefore proposes measures to help alleviate food insecurity, including cash transfers and cash transfers that can be carried out without delay to prevent food insecurity before it becomes a real crisis.
Mothers, who play an important role in infancy and early childhood, can benefit from measures to improve parental leave, childcare and medical care, which are important for child development.
The report highlights the need for more up-to-date and better data on children’s health and nutrition status, as well as better access to management information to help target priorities and easily reach vulnerable populations. Furthermore, it must be concluded that increasing the resilience of food systems and strengthening supply chains is essential, especially in the face of climate shocks and future market disruptions.
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