Sub-Saharan Africa is highly vulnerable to climate change, with a marked increase in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters threatening food security in the region due to the heavy reliance on rain-fed agriculture, and weak infrastructure and institutions.
These challenges are compounded by the adverse effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has aggravated food chain disruptions, broadly raised food prices, eroded real incomes, and increased the number of undernourished in the region to reach 264 million in 2020.
This discussion comes at a critical time when the IMF is looking to identify viable options to support more vulnerable member countries in their pandemic recovery and achieve resilient and sustainable growth, including through voluntary channeling of some of the SDRs from countries with strong external positions to those most in need.
Antionette M. Sayeh, Deputy Managing Director, IMF
Antionette M. Sayeh, Deputy Managing Director, IMF (Moderator)
David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme
Tahir Hamid Nguilin, Minister of Finance and Budget, Chad
Musa Kpaka, Chief Technical Advisor in the Office of the President, Sierra Leone
In 2020, the number of undernourished people reached 264 million in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the food security challenges in a region that was already highly vulnerable to climate change. Panelists discussed the evolving situation and possible solutions.
“Climate change is impacting all our industries, particularly those in the rural areas. The 50 million people living in the Lake Chad region are facing significant challenges.” Tahir Hamid Nguilin
“We have been saying that it is not about foreign aid but about strategic foreign aid. That is the key. We would like to have the most strategic programs that can help governments.” David Beasley
“Agriculture and farming practices can be a driver for climate change but also a solution. We think irrigation can be expensive, but water management can be a way to go around this.” Musa Kpaka
“The international community can play its part. At the IMF we have increased our annual lending, thereby helping countries reduce their financing gaps. The recent SDR allocation is supplementing foreign reserves, and IMF is encouraging some countries to voluntarily transfer SDRs to countries with the most needs.” Antoinette Sayeh
Contributor: Chola Milambo, IMF, Secretary’s Department