“The Horn of Africa finds itself at the epicenter of the worst locust outbreak we have seen in a generation, most probably in more than a generation,” Holger Kray, a senior World Bank official
The World Bank today approves $500 million in grants and low-interest loans to help countries in Africa and the Middle East fight swarms of desert locusts that are affecting crop yields in these countries the most greatly affected being Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. These four countries will receive $160 million immediately according to Holger Kray, a senior World Bank official, in an official statement to Reuters. Other countries like Yemen, Somalia and the rest of the affected countries could tap funds as needed.
With an ability to travel up to 150 km (95 miles) a day, the World Bank estimates the Horn of Africa region could suffer up to $8.5 billion in damage to crop and livestock production by year-end if no immediate measures are taken to combat their spread. They maintain that, even with these measures, losses could be as high as $2.5 billion. Hence the urgent need for the disbursement of these funds.
In total, 23 countries across East Africa, the Middle East and South Asia have been affected in this locust outbreak said to be the biggest in 70 years according to the World Bank. The consequences will be far reaching in East Africa especially where nearly 23 million people are facing food shortages. Coupled with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the consequences on standards of living will be far reaching on African economies.