By Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, Chief Executive Officer, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) and Honorary President, Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC)
This blog is part of a series on tackling COVID-19 in developing countries. Visit the OECD dedicated page to access the OECD’s data, analysis and recommendations on the health, economic, financial and societal impacts of COVID-19 worldwide.
West Africa is in the midst of a food crisis of exceptional magnitude. The recent meeting of the Food Crisis Prevention Network — which monitors the food and nutrition situation in the Sahel and West Africa — reported that the crisis is expected to affect 17 million people in the coming months; twice as many as the average of previous years. This worsening situation is mainly due to a high level of insecurity.
The COVID-19 pandemic is already hitting the region hard as a result of the collapse of world commodity prices, the devaluation of some currencies, inflation and difficulties in importing agricultural inputs. Moreover, some policy responses, such as limiting mobility, closing or restricting market activity — are de facto threatening the livelihoods of the majority of the population. It is feared that the spread of the pandemic will be rapid and massive, especially since — despite a young population — the immune systems of millions of people are weakened by malnutrition or chronic illnesses. Continue reading