IMF warns up to 20 countries facing food crisis

IMF warns up to 20 countries facing food crisis

RIYADH: The International Monetary Fund said on Monday that up to 20 countries, many in Africa, could need emergency assistance to deal with the global food crisis.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said at a conference in Saudi Arabia that 141 million people in the Arab world are exposed to food insecurity.

The International Monetary Fund approved a new food shock borrowing window under its existing emergency financing instruments to help vulnerable countries cope with food shortages and high costs stemming from Russia's war in Ukraine.

Georgieva said that 48 countries around the world are particularly exposed to the food crisis.

Of the 48 countries, about 10 -- 20 are likely to be asking for emergency assistance, according to Georgieva, a number of which are in sub Sahran Africa.

She promised members at the event that they were here for you.

The International Monetary Fund plans to fund the food shock window using last year's Special Drawing Rights SDR allocations to fight food trade restrictions in order to ease the situation.

Countries across the Middle East and beyond have stepped in to support states battling high food inflation and shortages made worse by global geopolitical developments and the growing risk of a global recession.

Georgieva said in a statement that Gulf Arab states are planning to make more pledges soon after the Arab Coordination Group announced that an initial US $10 billion was needed to deal with the global food supply crisis.

The IMF and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on Monday to set up an IMF regional representative office in Riyadh.

Alice Gower, director of geopolitics and security at London-based advisory Azure Strategy, said that social stability through adequate provision of basic foodstuff is a priority beyond the borders of those directly affected.

Staples such as wheat, rice and lentils are at risk of being inaccessible to poor communities across the region, she told Reuters.

Increased investment from countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been seen as a result of a desire for regional stability and security.