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G-7 Food Pledge "Insufficient" - Analysts

FILE: Acutely malnourished child Sacdiyo Mohamed, 9 months old, is treated at the Banadir Hospital after her mother Halima Hassan Mohamed fled the drought in southern Somalia. Taken 3.11.2017

Analysts say a $4.5 billion funding earmarked by G-7 leaders to address food insecurity demonstrated their lack of commitment at this time to address growing hunger facing the world's least developed continents like Africa.

NGO Oxfam International said West Africa is currently facing its worst food crisis in a decade, with 27 million people going hungry. If action is not taken, the firm noted that the figure could likely rise to an ''unprecedented'' level of 38 million.

Oxfam official Max Lawson told VOA that little focus was given to the food crisis facing Africans by the G-7 leaders' summit last week as only about 20 minutes was ''spent talking about it''. He said ''Africa and the worlds poorest was effectively an afterthought''.

''They (G-7 leaders) could have given more money and released their own grain reserves on the world market. These could drive down prices to help make up for the war in Ukraine. What they did was the very minimum, and that is a historical abdication of responsibility'', Lawson regretted.

''In the 20 years I've been at Oxfam, I've struggled to think of a time that (the food crisis in Africa) was this bad," he said. "It's really scary. If you look at the scale of the food crisis and contrast it with what the G-7 agreed to do - yes, it's good that they put some money on the table, but it's a tiny amount,' Lawson added.

In East African nations like Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, Oxfam said one person is estimated to be dying of hunger every 48 seconds as climate change takes a toll on these ''drought-ravaged'' economies.

The World Food Program estimates that it needs $21.5 billion this year alone to tackle the global food crisis.

Daniel Kuyoh, Analyst at Kenyan-based Celestine Fund told VOA of his disappointment at the lack of willpower by the leaders to help Africa tackle the food crisis.

''Do they (G-7 leaders) value us as people or do they value us for our resources?'', he queried.

''We had hoped to see actions driven towards addressing policy within Africa, whether it is a policy affecting the African Union to address food security in Africa, funding for global NGOs working in the food industry, or a climate change policy that impacts agriculture positively on the continent'', Kuyoh said.

But food is not the only crisis Africa faces. The Russian attack on Ukraine sent oil prices soaring, making it costly for African farmers to run machinery need to plant and harvest.

Verner Ayukegba at Johannesburg-based African Energy Chamber told VOA that the priority of G-7 nations at the moment, which includes curbing inflationary pressures powered by hikes in fuel prices, means there's little attention to the effects of high fuel prices on African consumers.

''Africa has to ensure that they can put in the measures that are needed. One of the key ways of doing that is to be self-sufficient - to refine and produce more (fuel) on the African continent," he said, adding "It's going to be tough for Africa because we import a significant amount of the fuel we need, and so we're exposed to the inflationary pressures facing the world."

Ayukegba added "Hope unfortunately is not in the short-term in this case - it is in the mid to long-term, and we need to see a commitment by investing dollars in these projects to be able to monetize those petroleum resources [found] on the continent.''