Key ministers from Somalia and Burkina Faso presented the scope of Africa’s challenges with food insecurity and the “Triple C” crisis of COVID, climate, and conflict, during a core session of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) annual meeting as it wrapped up Saturday in Saudi Arabia.
The two ministers were among representatives from the 27 African nations that are IsDB member states. The IsDB has committed US$10.5 billion to food security initiatives among member nations.
Minister of Finance Elmi Mohamud Nur of Somalia, above, explained that his country has experienced drought for six straight years, with complete degradation of the environment due to years of climate impacts and conflict. The “Triple C” problems, Nur said, affect all of the Horn of Africa.
But the COVID-19 pandemic greatly increased the food insecurity challenges in what he called interlinked issues that affect Somalia, though the nation has contributed among the least to climate change.
Jean Philippe Ouedraogo, the environment minister for Burkina Faso, said his Sahel nation has lost 250,000 tons of grain production due to recent impacts. “Climate change, the different floods, the strong winds, all of those represent great threats to the people of Burkina Faso,” he said, adding that 10% of the population was displaced due to the security situation.
Benin and Togo also faced export challenges and dropping prices affecting the region, he said.
AbdulHakim Elwaer, the Cairo-based Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) representative for the Middle East and North Africa, underscored the water resource challenges faced in Egypt and beyond. The water access directly affects food production.
“Seven countries of our region are among the Top 10 dry countries in the world,” said Elwaer, with per capita water use that’s less than a tenth of the per capita use worldwide. “Our population increase is double than the average worldwide.”
Elwaer stressed the importance of investing in peace in Egypt, Sudan, South Sudan and Somalia in order to produce food for the region.