The recent coup d’état in Niger is expected to exert additional pressure on the food markets of Nigeria and other West African nations, warns the World Bank.
According to the global financial institution, this coup could result in an additional seven million people facing severe food insecurity in the region.
This dire situation is unfolding amidst rising prices of essential commodities and staple foods, with 3.3 million people in the region already grappling with severe food insecurity during the lean season.
In its September ‘Food Security Update,’ the World Bank emphasizes, “The coup d’état in Niger might place added strain on food markets across West Africa.”
It further highlights the consequences of economic and financial sanctions imposed on Niger by the Economic Community of West African States and the West African Economic and Monetary Union, leading to a substantial 21 percent increase in food prices in Niger during August.
These soaring prices are limiting the ability of impoverished households to access food and meet their dietary requirements.
The World Bank underscores the importance of continued food aid from organizations like the World Food Programme, especially due to the government’s constrained financial capacity to implement its food assistance programs.
However, it notes that access restrictions are hindering the efficient delivery of aid.
Additionally, the scarcity of seeds and livestock feed, coupled with high fertilizer costs, is expected to negatively impact the upcoming agricultural season, exacerbating food insecurity that is likely to persist beyond the lean season.
The bank also highlights a persistent food crisis in Western and Central Africa, with the number of people requiring food and nutritional assistance surging from 10.7 million in 2019 to nearly 29 million in 2021 and further to over 40 million in 2022 and 2023.
It attributes this crisis to factors such as civil insecurity, conflicts leading to forced displacement, climatic shocks, political instability, the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the conflict in Ukraine, all of which have contributed to price volatility for food and other commodities, causing widespread inflation.
Notably, current food prices for staple and imported food products remain higher compared to the same period last year.
The situation at Nigeria’s border with Niger at Illela border town in Sokoto State has also been impacted by the coup, resulting in numerous vehicles stranded.
Moreover, trade between Nigeria and Niger, valued at approximately $226.34 million, is at risk of collapsing due to the border closure following the coup.