Russia-Ukraine war could result in food riots in poor nations: WTO Boss

Russia-Ukraine war could result in food riots in poor nations: WTO Boss

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General, said that a spike in food price due to the Russia-Ukraine war could result in riots from people experiencing food shortages in developing countries.

The World Trade Organization general director warned food-producing countries to stop hoarding supplies as it was essential to circumvent a repeat of the Covid-19 pandemic when rich countries secured bulk of vaccines for themselves.

In an interview, she expressed her concerns about the impact of Russia’s invasion, which emphasized the dependence of many African countries on the supply of food from the Black Sea region.

Okonjo-Iweala says that the effect on food prices and hunger this year and for the coming year could be substantially worrying. This is because food and energy are two essential items in the feeding baskets of poor people worldwide.

Majorly underprivileged people living in poor countries will be the ones suffering the most.

Okonjo-Iweala, a previous Nigerian finance minister, said around 35 countries were reliant on food imported from the Black Sea region, further stating that Ukraine and Russia were responsible for 24% of global wheat supplies.

Agriculture has always been a provoked issue at the WTO, with frequent rows about governments subsidizing their farmers while limiting access to their markets. She believes that discussions are pretty heated and they are always heated as to being significant issues.

Okonjo-Iweala has recently completed her first year as head of the WTO, having been selected to deliver some political push to an institution beset by disagreements over how to ease up trade and the mechanism for settling disputes.

She said that progress had been made; however, she also admitted that things had been quite hard since she has been here, and it is not an easy job.

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