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Working Paper 97 - Soaring Food Prices and Africa's Vulnerability and Responses: An Update


The recent episode of high food prices was more severe than previous ones and its impact is expected to persist over the short-to-medium term. The sharp increases in food prices from the last quarter of 2007 to early 2008 triggered various reactions around the world, including Africa, and raised grave concerns about food security in the Bank’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs). Since these developments, some changes have occurred on global cereal markets. From June 2008 to January 2009, international market prices for most cereals, whose prices had risen the most (maize, barley, wheat and rice), have fallen. This fall was uneven and more pronounced for barley (traded at December 2006 price in January 2009) than for rice (still twice more expensive in January 2009 than in December 2006) (IMF, 2008). Furthermore, the actual picture in African countries remains mixed, as the fall in cereal prices observed on global markets does not seem to be reflected on a uniform fall in cereal prices in all African countries.

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