WASHINGTON - Food price inflation was high across low and middle-income sub-Saharan countries in December 2023, with rates above 5% in 12 countries out of the 21 for which the World Bank has data for the month.

In East and southern Africa, concerns about rising food inflation were amplified by warnings of food insecurity. Some 56 million people in “fragile and conflict-affected” states in the region could be at risk of hunger by June 2024, the World Bank said.

Macroeconomic crises and extreme climate events such as the El Niño drought were the other major drivers of food insecurity in the region. West and Central Africa have also experienced disturbing food-related events.

About 31.7 million people in the sub-region needed food aid in December 2023. That number could rise to 44.5 million by August this year “without appropriate measures,” the World Bank warned.