Africa’s Youngest Billionaire Mohammed Dewji Highlights Biggest Threat to Africa
Mohammed “Mo” Gulamabbas Dewji, the richest man in Tanzania, recently made a statement about the numerous crises that the continent of Africa is currently experiencing. He described food insecurity as the continent’s biggest threat.
The UN reports that Africa has been particularly susceptible, with 282 million people on the continent, or approximately 21% of the population, suffering from famine in 2020.
Mohammed Dewji is a former politician, businessman, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the president of MeTL Group.
The company has about 34,800 employees and operates in 8 countries. MeTL’s operations have thus far contributed 3.3% of Tanzania’s GDP.
Dewji criticises African governments in a post on his official Twitter
account, saying, “food security is the biggest threat facing #Africa, What are #African governments doing to mitigate this risk?”. Let’s take a look at some of the threats he mentioned.
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1. The Ukraine war
The Tanzania billionaire emphasised the need for immediate action to maintain food security in Africa due to the continued struggle of households’ with falling real wages and rising food and energy prices.
The price of energy have increased since the beginning of the war, which has contributed to the worldwide cost of living crisis.
While many nations in East, West, Middle, and Southern Africa import a sizable portion of their wheat, fertiliser, or vegetable oils from Russia and Ukraine, the war affects global commodities markets and trade flows to the continent, driving up already high food costs there.
António Guterres, the U.N. Secretary-General, recently painted a bleak image, saying,
“Global hunger levels are at a new high. In just two years, the number of severely food insecure people has doubled, from 135 million pre-pandemic to 276 million today … More than half a million people are living in famine conditions — an increase of more than 500 percent since 2016.”
2. The insecurity of food
The post-pandemic recovery of Africa’s economy has recently been fraught with difficulties, with regional economic activity dropping to 3.3 percent in the face of external headwinds like sluggish global growth and tightening international financial conditions.
Economic activity is being hampered by inflationary pressures, the resulting tightening of policies, the rising danger of debt distress, and other factors.
Before COVID-19, food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa was rising, but the pandemic, along with the food and energy problems, have all had a role in the current dramatic rise in food insecurity and malnutrition.
In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are now more than one in five people who experience hunger, and over a quarter of a billion people are undernourished, according to a World Bank research that was published on Tuesday, October 4.
Food security crises are occurring more frequently, throughout the region, 140 million people are anticipated to experience severe food insecurity in 2022, up from 120 million in 2021.
Acute food insecurity would affect 55 million people in East Africa, up from 41 million in 2021.
During the 2000s, major food crisis occurrences occurred every 2.5 years, up from once every ten years earlier.
This coincides with a rise in the frequency and severity of food insecurity crises across the continent.
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