There is no country in the world that has not experienced domestic food inflation - Lord Paul Boateng
There is no country in the world that has not experienced domestic food inflation - Lord Paul Boateng
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There is no country in the world that has not experienced domestic food inflation - Lord Paul Boateng

Lord Paul Yaw Boateng, a Member of the House of Lords in the United Kingdom, has asserted that every nation worldwide is currently grappling with domestic food inflation.

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At a lecture at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) today, Lord Boateng attributed this widespread issue to the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

"And the latest figures from the World Food Programme suggests that as many as 309 million people are facing acute levels of food insecurity. For All, domestic food price inflation remains stubbornly high. There is no country in the world that has not experienced domestic food price inflation," he said. 

Speaking on the nature and quality of leadership in these challenging times, Lord Boateng mentioned the fragility exposed by the pandemic. "We live in a world still reeling in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, a pandemic which exposed for all to see and for all of us to experience the fragility of both global supply lines and global health systems," he remarked.

He highlighted the widening gap between the rich and the poor, both between and within nations, as a consequence of the pandemic. This economic disparity has been further exacerbated by the conflict in Europe, whose effects have reverberated far beyond Ukraine. "60% of workers today in our world have a lower real income than they had before the pandemic," Lord Boateng noted. He added that a significant number of the world's poorest countries are either in a state of debt crisis or at serious risk of falling into one.

"The latest figures from the World Food Programme suggest that as many as 309 million people are facing acute levels of food insecurity," he revealed. This alarming statistic underscores the persistent issue of domestic food price inflation, which he stated has affected every country. "There is no country in the world that has not experienced domestic food price inflation," he declared.

Lord Boateng explained that this phenomenon is particularly prevalent in both low and middle-income countries, where higher energy costs, trade restrictions, and a reduction in fertilizer supply from Russia and Belarus have driven fertilizer prices to rise even faster than food prices. "Ask any farmer that, and that is their experience," he affirmed.

He went on to discuss the broader geopolitical situation, noting heightened tensions between superpowers, conflicts in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, and various insurgencies.

These issues, compounded by the environmental impacts of climate change, have severely affected agricultural sectors and high-risk communities globally. "Extreme weather events are affecting more and more people all over the planet," he said, citing climate disasters that cost the global economy approximately $520 billion annually. Developing countries, he noted, bear a disproportionate share of these adverse effects, often redirecting public funds towards disaster response rather than development.

The financial strain has resulted in a significant shortfall in social protection funding, with a 1.2 trillion dollar financing gap in developing countries alone. "That's the scale of the problem," Lord Boateng emphasized, highlighting the need for robust and effective leadership at all levels. "These conditions have put a spotlight on the quality of all our institutions and their leadership, globally, nationally, locally. Leadership that has been tested on an unprecedented scale."

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