(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2023-04-06)
Gatti, Roberta; Lederman, Daniel; Islam, Asif M.; Bennett, Federico R.; Andree, Bo Pieter Johannes; Assem, Hoda; Lotfi, Rana; Mousa, Mennatallah Emam
Growth is forecasted to slow down for the Middle East and North Africa region. The war in Ukraine in 2022 exacerbated inflationary pressures as the world recovered from the COVID 19 pandemic induced recession. The response by central banks to raise rates to curb inflation is slowing economic activity, while rising food prices are making it difficult for families to put meals on the table. Inflation, when it stems from food prices, hits the poor harder than the rich, thus compounding food insecurity in MENA that had been rising over decades. The immediate effects of food insecurity can be a devastating loss of life, but even temporary increases in food prices can cause long-term irreversible damages, especially to children. The rise in food prices due to the war in Ukraine may have altered the destinies of hundreds of thousands of children in the region, setting them on paths to limited prosperity. Food insecurity imposes challenges to a region where the state of child nutrition and health were inadequate before the shocks from the COVID-19 pandemic. The report discusses policy options and highlights the need for data to guide effective decision making.