It is no news that the world is currently in a food crisis. Yes, food has become much more expensive and scarce than it used to be just last year.
In its recent Nigeria Development Update (NDU), the World Bank estimated that the inflation shock will push eight million people into poverty between 2020 and 2021—this is bound to worsen as food prices increase further. For example, wheat has doubled in price this year alone. The price changes badly affect countries in the Middle East and North African (MENA) region like Egypt. Egypt is the largest wheat importer globally, and most of the imported wheat goes to the government's subsidised bread program.
For Egypt, bread is life. In fact, bread is called "aish" or "eish" in Egypt, which means life/living. So, when wheat prices rise, the entire country feels the impact. The rise in wheat prices in 2008-2009 was partly responsible for the Egyptian uprising (Arab Spring) in 2011. The cost of bread had increased by over 30%, and the government suspended its subsidised bread program. This, coupled with the rising unemployment in the country, led to severe dissatisfaction with the government. The country might be facing a similar hike in food prices caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.
At the moment, the government's wheat import bill might increase to $5.7billion, from an annual rate of $3 billion—which makes the bread subsidy more expensive than usual. This is one of the grim impacts of the