According to analysis published on Wednesday three-quarters of African countries and other Arab nations are at an extreme risk of a food crisis.
On a study carried out by the British consultancy, Maplecroft, on 197 countries, 59 are at risk with food insecurity and 39 are African countries. 11 of these countries are categorized in the extreme risk where nine are from Africa. They include Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which are ranked as first, Burundi (4th), Chad (5th), Ethiopia (6th), Eritrea (7th), South Sudan (9th), the Comoros (10th) and Sierra Leone (11th). Haiti (3rd) and Afghanistan (8th) on the other hand are the other two countries in the extreme risk category.
Even though a food crisis has not surfaced yet, there is possibility for food-related disruption across the most susceptible regions of the world, which is including sub-Saharan African and Arab states. Nevertheless, 48 countries are considered to be at high risk for food supplies this include Yemen (15th), Syria (16th), Pakistan (27th), Papua New Guinea (33rd), North Korea (35th), Iraq (54th) and Libya (58th). Among medium-risk countries, Egypt is ranked 71st out of the 197 countries, and Tunisia, 100th. Still a notable change has taken place compared to last year’s rankings were North Korea (19th on the 2011 list); Egypt (88th) and Syria (89th).
Maplecroft said that food insecurity is as a result of conflict and instability in the Sahel, DRC and eastern Africa. This situation has boosted the rise in prices for corn which is due to the worst US drought in 50 years and declining production in former Soviet countries. The Food Security Risk Index is intended for governments, NGOs and businesses to identify countries that could be susceptible to hunger or unrest because of food shortages or price hikes.
In a statement said by Maplecroft, drivers of the Arab Awakening Spring were varied and complex principally a long standing public anger at high levels of governmental corruption and oppressive tactics against populations and political opposition. According to them, when these factors combine with food insecurity, sparked by rising global prices, it can create an environment for social unrest and regime change.