DRC con­flict pushes com­mod­ity prices and in­fla­tion up

African Times - - International/africa - JEAN KASSONGO

IN­FLA­TION is ris­ing while food and live­stock prices are at high lev­els driven by lim­ited sup­plies and on­go­ing con­flict in the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo (DRC). War­fare con­tin­ues to dis­rupt mar­kets.

The coun­try, which ge­o­graph­i­cally is in Cen­tral Africa but is a mem­ber of the South­ern Africa De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity, is fac­ing a myr­iad of crises that is im­pact­ing on neigh­bour­ing coun­tries where thou­sands have fled.

In­fla­tion rates are fore­casted to slightly in­crease as 2017 draws to a close.

In 2016, in­fla­tion rates are es­ti­mated to have slightly in­creased to 1,7 per­cent due to a rel­a­tively strong eco­nomic growth and a loos­en­ing fis­cal pol­icy which boosted do­mes­tic de­mand. In 2017, in­fla­tion rates are fore­cast to con­tinue to grow to about 2,7 per­cent.

Franc, the lo­cal cur­rency has de­pre­ci­ated sig­nif­i­cantly against the United States dol­lar (1Franc = US$0,00063) over the past months, re­sult­ing in more ex­pen­sive and re­duced im­ports from neigh­bour­ing coun­tries and con­se­quent sig­nif­i­cant up­ward pres­sure on do­mes­tic food sup­plies and prices.

This contributed to the de­cline in the pur­chas­ing power of poor house­holds, ac­cord­ing to the Food and Agri­cul­tural Or­gan­i­sa­tion (FAO).

As of Novem­ber 2017, the Con­golese franc has de­pre­ci­ated by about 36 per­cent com­pared to Novem­ber 2016.

There has been an up­ward trend in food prices in re­cent months caused by the on­go­ing con­flict in the Ka­sai and the Tan­ganyika re­gions, which con­tinue to dis­rupt mar­kets for food and live­stock.

Coun­try­wide, ce­real prices are gen­er­ally high driven by the lim­ited sup­plies, FAO said.

In the Tan­ganyika, in the last six months, there has been a surge of de­pen­dence on cross-bor­der flows from the United Repub­lic of Tan­za­nia, re­sult­ing in al­most dou­bling the lo­cal prices of maize and cas­sava.

FAO lamented the food se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion con­tin­ued to sharply de­te­ri­o­rate due to per­sist­ing civil con­flict.

The es­ca­la­tion of the civil con­flict since 2013, es­pe­cially in east­ern and south­ern prov­inces, se­verely dis­rupted lo­cal liveli­hood sys­tems and caused mas­sive pop­u­la­tion dis­place­ments.

Since Septem­ber 2016, the Ka­sai Re­gion is fac­ing a ma­jor hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis and the con­flict has caused the dis­place­ment of about 1,4 mil­lion peo­ple.

In to­tal, some 4 mil­lion peo­ple are dis­placed in the coun­try. – CAJ News

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