BANGUI, January 16, 2021 — According to the latest « Price monitoring Bulletin » produced by Central African Institute for Statistics, Economic and Social Studies (ICASEES) with support from the World Bank, the prices of basic imported food products, including milk powder, salt, sugar and onions, have spiked from 15% to 240% in markets surveyed across Bangui, Bimbo and Bégoua during the first week of January.
These prices have significantly increased following the surge of insecurity and the blockage of the Douala-Bangui trade corridor. Hundreds of trucks with critical supplies of food products, humanitarian supplies and water treatment chemicals remain stranded at the border crossing. The prices of local food products such as palm oil, cassava and beef have also increased significantly between 16 and 44% — as a result of inter-regional supply disruptions following the intensification and spread of armed conflict in the region.
This new wave of price hikes and instability has escalated more sharply and rapidly compared to the volatility and increase in prices experienced during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020.
“These are alarming developments. It is affecting the poorest, who have fewer or no food stocks and savings and are already feeling the brunt of the adverse impact”, said Han Fraeters, World Bank Country Manager for the Central African Republic. “The stakes are very high. The current situation must be addressed urgently to avoid reversing years of development progress and threatening to push more people into extreme poverty”.
This is the third shock experienced by the Central African Republic over the last six months following the COVID-19 economic downturn and the October floods that hit the country where more than 70 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.