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Rising food prices, caused partly by higher energy and fertiliser costs, were stoking food insecurity even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That geopolitical shock has pushed prices still higher, and it raises the spectre of physical shortages in the Middle East and North Africa, one of the major destinations for Russian and Ukrainian grain exports.

Rising prices and potential shortages of food will have a global impact but could be felt most forcefully in the MENA states. It could destabilise governments and tear at the fabric of societies, as was the case in the run-up to the Arab Spring and drive further migration to Europe. Given MENA’s anchoring role in the global energy markets, massive destabilisation of the region would have global impacts.

Join us for a discussion in which we will analyse the drivers of rising insecurity and consider how the crisis is likely to manifest in different ways across the region. Egypt has by far the largest wheat import requirement, while Sudan and Libya have the greatest pre-existing levels of food insecurity, Algeria and Tunisia have the largest current-account deficits relative to GDP, and Lebanon is facing economic collapse, while Yemen is experiencing a drought. What are the states most exposed to instability, and which ones seem least able to respond effectively?

A discussion between: 

  • Martin Keulertz, Environmental Management Lecturer, University of West England, Member of the Oxford Analytica Expert Network
  • David Butter, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Oxford Analytica Region Head
  • Elizabeth Rust, Senior Analyst, Global Economics at FrontierView

Chair: Nick Redman, Director of Analysis, Oxford Analytica