Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to cause a severe hunger crisis in vulnerable regions of the world, the head of the World Trade Organization is warning.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former finance minister of Nigeria, told The Guardian that much of Africa is dependent on food imports from the Black Sea region, which have been disrupted by the war. She said that she feared a repeat of food riots that occurred when global food prices rose sharply in the late 2000s.
Okonjo-Iweala said that a priority will be dissuading countries from setting up trade barriers to food, to try to hoard supplies within their borders. She compared the situation to countries hoarding supplies of coronavirus vaccines when they first began to appear.
“It is a natural reaction to keep what you have – we saw that with vaccines. But we shouldn’t make the same mistake with food,” Okonjo-Iweala told The Guardian.