News / Middle East

Mideast, N. Africa Instability Driving Food Costs to Near All-Time High

A street vendor sells food on the streets of the capital San'a, Yemen. Even in Yemen's breadbasket, people are having trouble feeding themselves in what food experts say is a hidden but growing hunger problem across this impoverished country, the poorest
A street vendor sells food on the streets of the capital San'a, Yemen. Even in Yemen's breadbasket, people are having trouble feeding themselves in what food experts say is a hidden but growing hunger problem across this impoverished country, the poorest

Lingering instability in North Africa and the Middle East is pushing food prices close to record highs.

The World Bank said Thursday food prices have increased 36 percent since this time last year, helping push about 44 million people into poverty.

It also warned that another 10 percent increase in food prices would drive another 10 million people into extreme poverty, subsisting on less than $1.25 a day.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick told reporters in Washington ahead of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings that the world was in what he called a "danger zone."  He said there is a risk food prices will see new spikes over the next two years.

The latest data from the World Bank show food prices remain close to their 2008 peak, with the price of key commodities like maize and wheat jumping about 70 percent over the past year.  The cost of soybeans (up 36 percent) and sugar (up 21 percent) has also seen significant increases.

Zoellick said instability in North Africa and the Middle East, which has already been fueling a jump in oil prices, is a key reason food prices are soaring.  Severe weather is some grain exporting countries has also contributed to the increase.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund is warning the global economic recovery is getting stronger but that the world remains in crisis.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the Spring Meetings, IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn warned "it is not the recovery we want" and that global financial leaders cannot be lulled into complacency.

Strauss-Kahn said despite signs that key economies are expanding; they are not producing enough jobs.  He said without those jobs, the benefits of a recovery will not be passed along to the general population.

Strauss-Kahn said Tunisia and Egypt were good examples of countries where key economic indicators pointed to growth but where the impact failed to reach the average person.

In both countries, popular revolts led to the overthrow of the government.

The IMF managing director also said the economies of many developing countries are in danger of overheating, while the global economy as a whole remains unbalanced.

You May Like

French Refugee Drama Wins Cannes Top Prize

Dheepan is about a group of Sri Lankan refugees who pretend to be a family in order to flee their war-torn country for a housing project in France More

Photogallery Crisis in Macedonia Requires Meaningful and Swift Measures

The international community has called on Macedonian leadership to take concrete measures in support of democracy in order to exit the crisis More

Activists: IS Executes 217 Civilians, Soldiers Near Palmyra

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Sunday said the victims include nurses, women, children and Syrian government fighters More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs