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World Bank wary at impending drought

08 October 2013, 10:00

Lagos - The World Bank has issued an alert of an impending drought that might sweep through several African countries.

Among the countries listed include Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

In a report titled “African Pulse”, the World Bank painted a grim scenario of what could happen to agriculture and food prices in the affected countries in the event of the predicted drought.

“In Africa, droughts are recurrent events, with adverse effects on local communities and the ecosystem. In a region where the majority of people depend on farming or raising animals, droughts inevitably have very negative consequences,” the bank stated.

World Bank said the first wave would hit Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda over 2013–15.

The second wave of drought would hit all the remaining countries in the region over 2016–18.

“In line with previous studies, drought is modelled as a temporary shock to productivity in agriculture. Consistent with similar historical shocks, a level of productivity shock is chosen that would reduce agricultural output initially by around 10 per cent compared to the pre-shock level,” World Bank stated.

“For Ethiopia, Nigeria, or Zambia, the initial shock will result in an increase in agricultural and food prices by an additional 15 per cent. Imports of food products will increase significantly to replace domestic output. Households will bear the burden of higher food prices.”

“Even though wages of unskilled workers rise, the increase in income will be slower than that of food prices. Since food expenditures constitute a high share of household budgets, without government or international intervention, real consumption would decrease substantially,” World Bank stated.

The report urged countries in the continent to make adequate preparations to avert the many implications of the drought.

– CAJ News


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