The EBRD supports the promotion of food storage in the Middle East/North Africa

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MARRAKECH, Morocco, May 10 (Reuters) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is in talks with Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt to increase their food storage capacity and diversify their food suppliers, a senior bank official said on Tuesday.

The disruption to food supply chains and soaring prices due to the war in Ukraine exacerbated inflation in North Africa and the Middle East, which rely on Black Sea wheat imports.

It also weighed on the budgets of many governments due to the increase in the cost of food subsidies.

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“We are in early discussions on what capital investment is needed to strengthen storage facilities,” Heike Hargmart, EBRD Managing Director for the South and East Mediterranean, told Reuters during the bank’s annual meeting in Marrakesh.

The EBRD is also working with the World Bank to help Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan advance a plan for a regional food security mechanism, which the EBRD supports, she said.

Hargmart added the bank is in talks with its Egyptian and Moroccan banking partners to urge them to ease trade finance to meet rising food demand.

“During the last three months, trade guarantees and cash advances for groceries have increased across the region,” she said.

The EBRD expects to start operations later this year in Algeria, the latest country in North Africa to become an EBRD shareholder, she said.

Iraq is in the process of completing the EBRD membership process, she said.

The bank also intends to add eight countries in sub-Saharan Africa, it said, without giving further details.

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Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Edited by Sandra Painter

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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