The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 came at a time when food supply chains in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) were still struggling with or trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which added millions to undernourished people in the region. While the two countries are deeply embedded in the global food markets, the conflict threatens to ripple across the world, posing another major shock to the global food supply chains and dire consequences for food insecurity with many MENA countries being directly affected. In this lecture, Assem Abu Hatab draws on his research into the economics and sustainable management of food systems in MENA countries to discuss the main pathways through which the crisis is projected to have worrying impacts on food security in the MENA countries, and document early lessons for building the productive capacities of food systems in the region and enhancing their resilience and preparedness to deal with future shocks.
Assem Abu Hatab is an associate researcher at the Department of Economics in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, and a senior economist at the Nordic Africa Institute of the Swedish Foreign Ministry. He is an applied economist with broad empirical interests and focus on the economics and sustainable management of natural resources and food systems in North Africa and the Middle East. Between 2018 and 2022, Assem served as a lead author for 6th IPCC Assessment Report (Mitigation of Climate Change). In 2022, Assem was appointed as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). In 2013, he was also awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development.