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非洲國家敦促跨國境的食品貿易不要限制

 

中興大學 生物系統工程研究室 陳加忠

 
 

Lloyd Phillips 2020410 Farmer’s weekly SA

世界銀行集團和非洲聯盟都在敦促各國不要因為讓與COVID-19有關的邊界關閉來,因而阻礙進出撒哈拉以南非洲國家內部的急需的糧食貿易。

冠狀病毒病(COVID-19)大流行在全球造成的廣泛的負面社會經濟影響,包括撒哈拉以南非洲的農業生產可能收縮2.6%至7%。加上之潛在的糧食進口貿易封鎖,更高的交易成本和減少的家庭收入,該地區可能面臨嚴重的糧食安全危機。

根據世界銀行集團《非洲脈動》刊物週四發布的一份報告,該報告名為評估COVID-19的經濟影響和撒哈拉以南非洲地區的政策對策。該報告描繪了該地區的慘淡景象。指出在過去25年中,COVID-19大流行引發了撒哈拉以南非洲的首次衰退。現在預測該地區2020年的經濟增長率為-5.1%,而去年的增長率為2.4%。

世界銀行非洲首席經濟學家Albert Zeufack表示:由於財政狀況惡化和公共債務增加,該地區各國政府在部署財政政策以應對COVID-19危機方面,沒有太多可使用空間。他補充說,非洲本身將無法遏制COVID-19及其影響。因此,迫切需要暫時的雙邊債務減免,以幫助非洲國家抵抗流行病,並保持該區域的宏觀經濟穩定。關於保護撒哈拉以南非洲的糧食安全的要求,該報告說,政府應該減少國際和國內貿易壁壘,並確保食品價值鏈中的工人能夠不受阻礙地運作。

必須對糧食短缺預警系統和相關的緊急糧食供應系統進行調整。增加對農村和城市地區的關注。大多數撒哈拉以南非洲的家庭包括農村地區在內都是糧食淨購買者。窮人的大部分收入用於購買糧食。大流行對已經在飢餓和其他危機中掙扎的脆弱社區的影響,提出了挑戰,

非洲聯盟(AU)在本週早些時候發布的報告冠狀病毒(COVID 19)對非洲經濟的影響中說,該地區的許多國家是主要食品的淨進口國,例如稻米和小麥,這些產品的國際價格上漲將對進口國產生不利影響。

非洲的進口商品受到COVID-19的打擊。從中國進口的基本消費品進口下降短缺已經導致南非,加納和其他國家的通貨膨脹加劇。盧安達最近對稻米和食用油等基本食品實行了固定價格管制。此報告補充說,不應為了控制COVID-19的傳播而關閉非洲國家的邊界,而引發非洲大陸的糧食危機。特別是在很大程度上依賴糧食進口和糧食供應的西非國家,糧食已經變得稀少了。

African states urged not to restrict cross-border food trade

By Lloyd Phillips

April 10, 2020 8:51 am

Both the World Bank Group and the African Union are urging countries not to allow COVID-19-related border closures to impede critically needed food trade to and within sub-Saharan Africa.
Photo: Getty Images

The widespread negative socio-economic impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic globally is likely to include a 2,6% to 7% contraction in sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural production.

Combined with potential trade blockages of food imports, higher transaction costs and reduced household income, the region could face a severe food security crisis.

This was according to a report published on Thursday in the World Bank Group’s Africa Pulse publication, titled ‘Assessing the Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Policy Responses in Sub-Saharan Africa’.

The report painted a bleak picture for the region, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic had set off the first recession in sub-Saharan Africa in the past 25 years. Economic growth for the region for 2020 was now forecast at -5,1% “from the modest 2,4% figure achieved last year”.

Albert Zeufack, the World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, said that “due to deteriorating fiscal positions and increased public debt, governments in the region do not have much [leeway] in deploying fiscal policy to address the COVID-19 crisis”.

He added that on its own, Africa would not be able to contain COVID-19 and its effects. There was, therefore, an urgent need for temporary bilateral debt relief to help African countries combat the pandemic and also to preserve macroeconomic stability in the region.

Regarding requirements to protect sub-Saharan Africa’s food security, the report said it was critical for governments to reduce international and domestic trade barriers, and ensure that workers in food value chains were able to operate unhindered.

“Early warning systems for food shortages, and associated emergency food provisioning systems, will have to be adjusted to increase attention on rural and urban areas. A majority of [sub-Saharan Africa] households, including in rural areas, are net food buyers, and the poor spend most of their income on food. The pandemic’s impact on vulnerable communities already grappling with hunger or other crises present further challenges,” the report said.

The African Union’s (AU) report, ‘Impact of the Coronavirus (COVID 19) on the African Economy’, released earlier this week, said that a number of the region’s countries were net importers of key food commodities, such as rice and wheat, and increased international prices for these products would negatively affect the importing countries.

“Africa’s imports are hit by COVID-19. The drop in imports and the shortages of basic consumer goods imported from China have increased inflation in South Africa, Ghana, [and others]. Rwanda has recently imposed fixed prices for basic food items such as rice and cooking oil,” the AU report said.

It added that the closure of African countries’ borders in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, should not be allowed to trigger a food crisis on the continent, especially in West African countries that largely depended on food imports and where food supplies were already becoming scarce.