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World entering “humanitarian doom loop”, UN official warns



World entering “humanitarian doom loop”, UN official warns

The world is entering a “humanitarian doom loop” as Russia has not offered any free grain to the United Nations (UN) food relief agency so far, an official says.

The Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), Carl Skau, said this at a press briefing on Friday at the UN headquarters in New York.

Skau said the Programme’s policy of buying supplies from Ukraine has been based on its competitive price and quality.

The WFP senior official said the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative after Russia ended its engagement was “regrettable, to say the least.”

Under the initiative, WFP shipped more than 725,000 tons of grain, relieving hunger in some of the hardest hit corners of the world, including Afghanistan, the Horn of Africa and Yemen.


“WFP relied on Ukraine’s competitively priced, accessible and high-quality source of wheat,” Skau said, adding “in spite of the war and thanks to this accord, Ukraine remained WFP’s biggest supplier of wheat in 2022.”

“Losing this source now is of great concern, of course, as this is really about keeping the barn door open, just when millions are knocking on it.

“The world needs unimpeded access to major food supplies.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly promised to supply free grain to six African nations at a summit held earlier in the week, following the collapse of the Initiative.

Responding to a question, Skau said WFP had not been in talks with Russia about any free grain.


“We work in full cost recovery. So, we don’t service any country with in-kind. We have not been approached for any such discussion so far,” he added, noting that the UN agency buys grain where it is the cheapest and fastest to get to its beneficiaries.

Skau went on to note that some of the countries where the needs are the greatest are also “where funding for relief operations are declining, forcing humanitarians to reduce or cut assistance”.

“In WFP’s case, we have to make impossible trade-offs of prioritising assistance,” he said.

In addition, he said the UN agency was in the midst of “a crippling funding crisis, which is forcing it to scale back life-saving assistance right as acute hunger is hitting record levels.”

At least 38 of WFP’s 86 country operations have experienced cuts or are planning to scale down food assistance programmes.


These include operations in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, Yemen, and several countries in West Africa.

“Less funding means WFP is forced to stop assisting people who are only in the category of ‘crisis level’. This is so that we can save those who are literally starving —– the category of catastrophic hunger,” Skau said.

He explained that due to these cuts, people at “crisis levels” of hunger, would fall into “catastrophic levels”.

The official said this would further raise humanitarian needs in the future if the food security situation globally does not improve.

“We are entering a humanitarian doom loop —– where we save people who are starving, at the cost of millions of others falling closer into that same category.”


Around 345 million people are at an acute state of food insecurity, while hundreds of millions more are at risk of worsening hunger.

This is on the back of climate change impacts, natural disasters, food price increases, economic slowdown, and conflict and insecurity.

Skau called on world leaders to prioritise funding for humanitarian response, enhance coordination with aid organisations, and address the root causes of these crises.


Coup attempt in Burkina Faso



The junta in Burkina Faso, which toppled a military regime to gain power, has announced that there was a coup attempt.

In a statement, the junta said an attempt by some army officers to seize power and plunge the country into chaos was thwarted.

“The dark intention of attacking the institutions of the Republic and plunging our country in chaos… investigations will help unmask the instigators of this plot.”

“Officers and other alleged actors involved in this attempt at destabilisation have been arrested and others are actively sought,” read the statement from Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo, spokesman for the regime.

The military government said it would seek to shed all possible light on this plot, adding that it regretted “that officers whose oath is to defend their homeland have strayed into an undertaking of this nature”.


It said while four people had been detained, two were on the run.

The statement added that the regime launched investigation based on “credible allegations about a plot against state security implicating officers.”

“We regret that officers whose oath is to defend their homeland have strayed into an undertaking of this nature, which aims to hinder the Burkinabe people’s march for sovereignty and total liberation from the terrorist hordes trying to enslave them.”

The junta came to power after two military coups last year, triggered in part by a worsening insurgency by armed groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that has destabilised Burkina Faso and its neighbours.

Captain Ibrahim Traoré, the junta leader, seized power on September 30, 2022, the country’s second coup in eight months.


From 2020 till date, there have been seven coups across Africa.

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Manufacturers sack 3,567 workers, unsold goods hit ₦‎272billion – MAN



No fewer than 3,567 jobs were lost in the manufacturing sector in the first half of 2023 according to figures obtained by The PUNCH from the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

MAN disclosed this in its half yearly review of the economy, which was released on Tuesday.

According to the report, employment generation in the manufacturing sector declined to 6,428 in the first half of 2023.

This was 32.8 per cent reduction in employment generation capacity when compared with 9,559 jobs generated in the first half of 2022.

The report read partly, “In the same vein, a total of 3,567 jobs were lost in the first half of 2023, indicating 1,855 more jobs lost when compared with the 1,709 jobs lost in the corresponding half of 2022, and 850 more jobs lost when compared with 2708 jobs lost in the last half of 2022.”


MAN said the decline in the number of jobs created in the sector during the period further highlighted the unfriendly business environment, resulting from the hasty policies and residual effect of the currency redesign policy that led to the naira crunch.

The report also stated that the inventory of unsold finished products in the manufacturing sector increased to N271.9bn during the first half of 2023, compared to N187bn in the corresponding period of 2022.

This indicated a substantial rise of N84.88bn or 45.4 per cent over the timeframe. It also showed N11.64bn or 4.1 per cent decline when compared with the inventory value of N283.6bn recorded in the second half of 2022.

“This increase in inventory can be attributed to a weakened purchasing power of the consumers, brought about by diminishing real household income resulting from the ongoing escalation of inflationary pressures, compounded by the scarcity of naira in the first quarter of the year and the aftermath of the subsidy removal,” the report said.

It noted that subsidy removal and exchange rate unification policy towards the end of the first half left the economy on the brink of uncertainty, caused a ripple effect that further eroded investors’ confidence.


MAN stated that, “As a result, businesses and foreign investors are increasingly wary of committing capital, thereby hindering economic growth and prospects for recovery.

“The combined effect of these is the resultant higher inflationary pressure, which fuels the cost of production, reducing consumers’ purchasing power and having a greater impact on the manufacturers.”

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