Sunday, April 17, 2011

World Bank warns about food prices, Middle East revolts

World Bank President Robert Zoellick

Source: Press TV

The World Bank has warned that the recovery of developed economies may face further challenges due to the rising food prices, high unemployment and the uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa.

"We are one shock away from a full-blown crisis," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in reaction to surging global food prices, AFP reported.

"The financial crisis taught us that prevention is better than cure. We cannot afford to forget that lesson," he said at the close of the annual spring meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.

Zoellick added that the development lender should support reforms in the Middle East to prevent further revolutions in the region.

"Waiting for the situation to stabilize will mean lost opportunities. In revolutionary moments, the status quo is not a winning hand," he went on to say.

The World Bank also said in a statement that the popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa "could derail global growth. "

According to the World Bank's latest Food Price Watch report released on Thursday, the global food prices saw a 36 percent rise compared to a year ago. The report also estimated that a further 10 percent increase could push 10 million more people, with an income of less than $1.25 per day, into extreme poverty.

The report says 44 million people have been pushed into poverty since June 2010 because of high and volatile food prices, and a further 30 percent price hike could increase the world's poor population to 34 million.

According to the World Bank's food index, there are currently 1.2 billion people living below the poverty line of less than $1.25 a day.

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