Arab world suffering from severe food insecurity, water shortage: Egypt's parliament speaker

Gamal Essam El-Din , Saturday 11 Feb 2023

The coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine have disrupted international food supply chains, leading to a food crisis in many countries, including in the Arab world, said the speaker of Egypt's House of Representatives Hanafy El-Gebaly.

Egypt s House of Representatives speaker Hanafy El-Gebaly in his speech in front of the Arab Parliam
Egypt s House of Representatives speaker Hanafy El-Gebaly in his speech in front of the Arab Parliamentary Union meeting in Cairo on Saturday. Photo : Egyptian Parliament

El-Gebaly made the remarks on the sidelines of a conference organised by the Arab Parliamentary Union in Cairo on Saturday to highlight the food security and water shortage crises threatening the Arab world.

"The Arab world has been one of the regions most affected by the pandemic and the war, which have caused a severe food crisis, not to mention that the Arab world is also in the grips of a severe water shortage that is making it difficult for Arab countries to meet their food needs," said El-Gebaly.

These developments have revealed the fragility of the Arab food situation and how vulnerable it is to external shocks, he noted.

El-Gebaly said Egypt is one of the Arab countries that have been hit hard by the disruption in international food supply chains.

"As a result, the Egyptian state moved quickly and early to put the issue of food security at the top of its priorities," said El-Gebaly, explaining that "the Egyptian state has been focusing on increasing a strategic stock of food products and major agricultural crops, a measure that has improved Egypt's position on the world food security index."

However, El-Gebaly urged Arab countries to coordinate with each other to achieve food integration.

"The way to do this is to unify Arab efforts and modernise agricultural plans and policies to facilitate the movement of trade and production between Arab countries," said El-Gebaly, concluding that "these measures are the only way to make Arab food security more resilient and capable of absorbing external shocks and overcoming global economic crises."

On the same day, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the Middle East and Africa face a "serious" water security challenge, as some of these countries are located in the driest and most desertified regions of the world.

At the annual conference of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs (ECFA), Shoukry said that this challenge is exacerbated by the desire of some upstream countries to monopolise and control water resources without regard for the capabilities of other riparian countries.

Referring to the Ethiopian Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Shoukry said Egypt is exercising self-restraint and respects the rights of the Ethiopian people to development, but this matter has not and will never supersede the right of the Egyptian people to life and existence.

Shoukry said it is a “necessity” to reach a legally binding agreement on the filling and operation of the GERD without delay.

Short link: