Nigeria, however, is struggling to deal with the impact of galloping inflation, a teetering economy, rising unemployment, and insecurity in farming regions, all of which are putting even the formerly middle class in danger.
The United Nations. A food agency has warned that food import costs worldwide will rise to record levels this year due to price increases for almost all agricultural commodities, as well as a rally in energy prices.
Experts have warned of worsening malnutrition and possible unrest.
Idayat Hassan, director of the Abuja-based think tank Centre for Democracy and Development, said that Nigeria’s limited social safety net leaves millions without assistance.
“Crime is actually on the rise daily because people are struggling to make ends meet.”
Lagos Food Bank Initiative distributed packs of rice, oil, and other essentials to dozens of women in the Oworonshoki neighbourhood on the edge of the Lagos lagoon on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.
President of the food bank Michael Sunbola reported a 40% increase in demand over the previous month. The distribution of income in mixed-income Oworonshoki, where brick apartment blocks buttress ramshackle shanties, was new.
In Sunbola’s words, “middle-class families, people who wouldn’t ordinarily queue up for food, are now among the people we serve.”
Price shocks in 2020 pushed an additional 7 million Nigerians into poverty, an increase of nearly 10%. The weakening naira, trade restrictions, and land border closures targeting smuggling also boosted Nigerian prices, said Marco Hernandez, the World Bank’s lead economist for Nigeria.
It has also been affected by the cost increases; a 100-kg (220-lb) bag of beans that cost 30,000 naira before COVID-19 hit now costs 65,000 naira, forcing the food bank to reduce the amount of food in each pack.