World Bank to give Egypt $500m for food security

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(Photo: AFP)

CAIRO — The world’s top wheat importer Egypt said Wednesday it is to receive $500 million from the World Bank to alleviate the impact of war between its main suppliers Russia and Ukraine.اضافة اعلان

“The World Bank financing will support the government’s efforts to meet food needs and enhance resilience to future shocks,” International Cooperation Minister Rania Al-Mashat said in a statement.

Egypt’s food security has been under mounting pressure since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February causing massive disruption to exports from Black Sea ports.

Before the invasion, the two countries accounted for 85 percent of Egypt’s wheat imports.

The new tranche of World Bank financing will go towards “funding wheat purchases” as well as “increasing wheat storage capacities” in anticipation of future crises, the ministry said.

Since the war began, the government has already ramped up wheat purchases from domestic farmers as well as trialing wheat substitutes in a bid to counter the supply shortfall.

On Tuesday, state bakeries in New Valley province in the southwest hailed successful trials of “sweet potato bread”, Egyptian media reported.

The adjusted recipes use sweet potato to supplement wheat in the flour used to make state-subsidized flatbread — an everyday staple for the country’s 103 million people.

Some 71.5 million Egyptians rely on bread subsidies, which account for 57 percent of the state’s subsidy budget, according to official figures.

Soaring world commodity prices helped to push Egyptian inflation to a three-year high of 15.3 percent in June, according to official figures.

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