AFRICA – The World Bank Group has approved a US$2.3 billion program to help countries in Eastern and Southern Africa increase the resilience of the region’s food systems and ability to tackle growing food insecurity.

Food system shocks brought on by extreme weather, pest and disease outbreaks, political and market instability, and conflict are becoming more frequent and severe, putting more people at risk of food insecurity.

The war in Ukraine is further exacerbating these effects by disrupting the global food, fuel, and fertilizer markets.

As a result, an estimated 66.4 million people in the region are projected to experience food stress or a food crisis, emergency, or famine by July 2022.

To address these risks, the Food Systems Resilience Program for Eastern and Southern Africa (FSRP) will enhance inter-agency food crisis response strategies including strengthening early warning systems and rapid response planning, emergency support to producers, emergency trade measures, emergency food reserve.

It will also include a Contingent Emergency Response Component (CERC) to provide agile, rapid funding.

“This is the first regional and multi-sectoral operation focusing on reducing the number of food insecure people in Eastern and Southern Africa by increasing the resilience of food systems and preparedness to combat rising food insecurity.

“Ensuring regional coordination in addressing the challenges posed by climate change, market volatility, and the need for food policy reform constitute key priorities,” said Hafez Ghanem, World Bank Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa.

The first phase tagged at a cost of US$788.10 million is expected to benefit 2.3 million people.

The fund will support the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), in strengthening information and data sharing, and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA), which will leverage its existing networks and outreach tools for regional coordination mechanisms.

In addition, the program will also boost medium- and long-term efforts for resilient agricultural production, sustainable development of natural resources, expanded market access, and emphasize a greater focus on food systems resilience in policymaking.

“While climate-induced shocks to the food system used to occur once every 10 years on average, they are now occurring every 2.5 years.

“This is too frequent for countries, regions, or farms to sufficiently recover between the shocks, and therefore investing in food systems resilience is key to allowing the region to act on food systems challenges in more cooperative and effective ways,” said Boutheina Guermazi, World Bank Director of Regional Integration Africa, the Middle East and North Africa.

The FSRP is central to the World Bank’s engagement in the region, which prioritizes enhancing human development outcomes and increasing the resilience of populations in a region undergoing many challenges.

To complement this International Development Association (IDA) investment, a stand-alone multi-donor trust fund financed by the European Commission, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States Agency for International Development, and German Development Bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, will be established for Ethiopia as part of the FSRP.

Also, for Ethiopia, the Bank has partnered with the Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) to accelerate adaptation to climate in the implementation of the project.

GCA provides technical advisory support to assess climate risks in priority value chains and to identify digital adaptation tools.

 FSRP supplements a similar program that the Bank approved recently for Western and Central Africa.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE