Experts have revealed that the food crisis situation in West Africa might worsen between June and August 2021, with as many as 27 million people needing immediate food aid.
Currently, 20 million people face a food crisis in West Africa as a result of conflict and the hardship made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Food Crisis Prevention Network, about 12.8 million people in Nigeria could face a food crisis “or worse” in the coming months.
The Nigerian economy was one of the most badly hit during heat of the pandemic as revenues dropped by 60% as a result of the poor fortunes of the oil sector.
Nigeria has also faced conflicts with jihadists in the northeast, armed gangs in the northwest as well as dealing with communal strife in central regions, separatist tensions in the southeast and piracy in the nearby Gulf of Guinea.
Nearly three million people could face a food crisis in Burkina Faso in the coming months, 2.3 million in Niger, 1.8 million each in Chad and Sierra Leone, 1.3 million in Mali and nearly one million in Liberia.
In addition to conflict, the displacement of 5.6 million people, weak economies and the pandemic has also worsened food shortages in the tri-border region of Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali, according to the network.
The Food Crisis Prevention Network, which includes representatives of governments, NGOs, lenders and UN agencies was created to analyse the food situation in the region and help governments and donors find responses to the problem.
While discussing a way forward, several officials said humanitarian aid was not the only answer.
“It is crucial for us to change the way we manage crises,” said Niger’s former prime minister Ibrahim Mayaki, honorary president of the Sahel and West Africa Club.
“It is essential we change the way we deal with crises. It means investing in the long term to address the root causes of famine and malnutrition,” Mayaki said