Painting by Cheri Samba

Lokuta eyaka na ascenseur, kasi vérité eyei na escalier mpe ekomi. Lies come up in the elevator; the truth takes the stairs but gets here eventually. - Koffi Olomide

Ésthetique eboma vélo. Aesthetics will kill a bicycle. - Felix Wazekwa

Friday, June 24, 2011

Food and fuel prices in the Congo

The IMF has warned that rising food prices will be a major challenge for the Congo this year; rising food and fuel prices are alleged to have contributed to civil unrest in Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Uganda this year, and Global food prices have risen 30% since last year, says the World Bank. So it is worthwhile looking at their impact on the tense situation in the Congo before elections. According to Minister of Information (aka the Congolese vuvuzela) Lambert Mende, taxes on food have been cut to help consumers.

Here are the price for the past year, courtesy of the Food Security Portal.

Commodity Prices ($US/Kg)
                            Dec 10 Jan 11 Feb 11 Mar 11 Apr 11 May 11
Maize Prices           0.41     0.42     0.40      0.42     0.43      0.50
Rice Prices             0.63     0.60      0.59      0.63     0.69     0.72

This is in line with central bank stats that record inflation in the year to date at 12%, which would come out to 17% year-on-year. That is not good, but we should also recall that the country saw inflation of over 50% in 2009. Here is another metric, provided by FAO, but only updated to March this year.

In addition, fuel prices - which affect the transport of all of these commodities - have gone up in the past few weeks due to international fuel prices and tax changes in the Congo. Fuel prices in Kinshasa have gone from $1,2 to $1,3 per liter.

Doesn't look good. But perhaps not as combustible as elsewhere?

1 comment:

texasinafrica said...

I think if you look at the data outside of Kinshasa, it's a much, much more worrying situation. Radio Okapi reported a couple of weeks ago that fuel is in the 2500-3000 Francs/litre range in Bunia, and of course food prices will reflect that. I'm much more worried about unrest in areas that are already prone to unrest due to unresolved issues than about an uprising in Kinshasa.

Post a Comment