BY ONOME AMUGE
The World Bank has said it would make $30 billion available over the next 15 months as part of a comprehensive, global intervention fund to address food insecurity and raging inflation arising from the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The international financial institution, in a statement on the funding plan, noted that the financing will include $12 billion funding for new projects and $18.7 billion in existing projects with direct links to food and nutrition security issues as part of efforts to encourage food and fertiliser production, enhance food systems, facilitate greater trade, and support vulnerable households and producers.
The investments, which will draw on the full range of the World Bank’s financing instruments, complemented by analytical work, are also expected to support agriculture, and social protection to alleviate the effects of rising food prices, and water and irrigation projects, with the majority of resources to be expended in Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and South Asia.
“Altogether, this would amount to over $30 billion available for implementation to address food insecurity over the next 15 months,” the statement read in part.
Speaking on the multi billion dollar plan, David Malpass, World Bank president, said the lingering food price increases are having devastating effects on the poorest and most vulnerable.
Malpass encouraged world leaders to make concerted efforts towards increasing the supply of energy and fertiliser, support farmers to increase plantings and crop yields, and remove policies that hinder exports and imports, divert food to biofuel or encourage unnecessary storage in order to inform and stabilise markets.
“It is critical that countries make clear statements now of future output increases in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he stated.
The World Bank, in its recent report on the impact of the Ukraine war on commodity markets, asserted that the war has caused major supply disruptions globally and led to historically higher prices for a large number of basic commodities.
The report projected a significantly higher valuation for commodities in 2022 compared to 2021, adding that prices would remain more pronounced in the medium term, particularly commodities such as energy, fertilisers, wheat, and metals where Russia and Ukraine are large exporters.
“The outlook for commodity markets depends heavily on the duration of the war in Ukraine and the severity of disruptions to commodity flows, with a key risk that commodity prices could be higher for longer,” the report stated.