Food Security and the Arab Awakening

IFPRI Experts Discuss Food Security-Conflict Link
August 21, 2012

The roots of the “Arab Awakening” run deep. Several factors—political, economic, and sociological—led to the popular uprisings that erupted throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa this decade. Key among these factors was high and volatile food prices.

A group of IFPRI researchers attending a major economic gathering in Brazil this week will reveal in a panel session tomorrow that the future stability of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya depends on policies that carefully address high food prices as well as related, nationally-specific challenges like social disparity, limited land for agriculture, and extreme water scarcity.

In the International Conference of Agricultural Economists panel, Beyond the Arab Spring: Improving Food Security and Resilience to Conflict, Perrihan Al‐Riffai, Jean‐Francois Maystadt, and Olivier Ecker will each present research that highlights the interrelationship between food security and the potential for future conflict in the region. They’ll discuss the causes of conflicts and options for preventing future conflicts in the region. They’ll also suggest which key policy and investment areas would facilitate a peaceful transition process.

The panel builds on insight in the recent IFPRI policy brief about the Arab Awakening.