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World Bank: Ukraine-Russia crisis may hit Arab food imports

The Middle East and North Africa is the second-most reliant region on imported wheat after Sub-Saharan Africa

Published: Updated:

The ongoing Ukraine-Russia crisis threatens some Arab countries’ food imports, an economic expert at the World Bank warned.

Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan are the four countries most likely to be hit by the worsening crisis, said Leila Mutaga, economic expert for the Middle East and North Africa at the World Bank.

Scenarios include decreasing levels of imported wheat, grain and corn from Russia and Ukraine, Mutaga said in a report in the al-Hayat newspaper on Wednesday.

“If the crisis escalates further, it is likely to have repercussions on countries in the Middle East and North Africa, directly through trade and indirectly through prices of commodities,” al-Hayat quoted Mutaga as saying.

At least 50 percent of Russian wheat gets exported to Egypt, followed by Lebanon, Jordan and Yemen, said Mutaga, and the countries rely on Ukraine for at least 50 percent of their wheat and corn supplies.

The economist added that the Middle East and North Africa is the second-most reliant region on imported wheat after Sub-Saharan Africa, the newspaper quoted Mutaga as saying.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) agreed to finance agricultural projects worth $25 million, the Yemen Online news website reported last week.