World Bank unveils $2.3bn to tackle food shortage in Eastern, Southern Africa

Dr Holger Kray

 Dr Holger Kray, the Practice Manager for Agriculture and Food Security in the World Bank’s Africa Sustainable Development Group.

Photo credit: File

Ethiopia and Madagascar are the first two countries to tap into the World Bank’s $2.3 billion package meant to mitigate escalating food insecurity in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The programme, which was made public on June 22, is a nine year-long multi-phased intervention which comes in the wake of deteriorating food insecurity whose effects have been exacerbated by spill-overs from the tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

“Phase one was approved as $788 million going to Ethiopia, Madagascar, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) and the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa. Preparation for other countries is materially underway. They may join in coming 12 months owing to the urgency”, said Dr Holger Kray who is the Practice Manager for Agriculture and Food Security in the World Bank’s Africa Sustainable Development Group.

Ethiopia and Madagascar have been allocated $600 million and $158.1 million, respectively, in the first phase.

The financing extended under this programme will be a blend of both debt and grant subject to a case-by-case needs assessment of each beneficiary country or regional economic commission.

The World Bank indicates that all debt disbursed under this programme will be subject to the standard International Development Association terms characterised by 38-year tenure and a grace period of 6 years.

“Depending on the country situation, the funding is either grant or credit. Out of the $788 million for Phase I, 39 percent is grant and 60 percent is credit. For Ethiopia the funding is two-thirds credit and one-third grant. For Madagascar it is 50 percent credit and 50 percent grant”, said Dr Kray.

The $2.3 billion program is aimed at re-assuring countries that funding will be available given the accelerating impact of climate change across Africa.

The World Bank argues that the impact of climate change on Africa’s food security has been amplified over the years.

“Climate change is real and it impacts the food systems in significant ways. Whereas in the past Africa’s food system experienced food security concerns due to weather every 12 years, this now happens every two and a half years and that is too frequent for any country”, says Dr Kray.

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