The African mainland continues to suffer continuous difficulties, especially the lack of food, against the background of the war in Ukraine, the French Development Agency counted on Thursday, although it has “absorbed” the economic shock linked to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Covid disease has now been absorbed,” said Thomas Mélonio, director of research at AFD, in the opening to the presentation of a book explaining the prospects for the French institution on the continent this year.
GDP per capita will thus exceed its 2019 level this year, allowing Africa to join the geographical areas in the world that have seen their national wealth return to pre-pandemic levels.
This good news conceals a difficult economic situation subject to the vagaries of the international situation, a few weeks before the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
This war was marked by a spike in grain prices just after Russia invaded Ukraine, which before the conflict accounted for 30% of the planet’s wheat supply.
After reaching historic highs in March, world food prices calmed down at the end of the year, particularly after the resumption of Ukrainian wheat exports to the Black Sea.
In the same matter, Africa has “escaped” the mass famines feared last year by the United Nations, said Bio Goura Soulé, an expert at ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States. West, during the AFD conference.
Furthermore, the persistent rise in fertilizer costs could still weigh on agricultural production this year, warned Thomas Mélonio.
Generally, the situation is far from being stabilized with consideration to food security, evaluated Benoit Faivre-Dupaigre, research officer at AFD, recognizing that most of the States requiring food assistance in the world were in Africa.
“This should not be accused only on food prices but on the general situation of conflicts and crises in different areas of Africa”, particularly in the Sahel and the east of the continent, which is suffering from severe drought, he also asserted.
In its latest economic forecast for sub-Saharan Africa in October, the International Monetary Fund said it expected growth of 3.7% in 2023 after 3.6% in 2022.