The head of the International Monetary Fund is warning that the global economic strain caused by Russia's war in Ukraine could stoke civil unrest in the Middle East and beyond.
Speaking at the Doha Forum in Qatar on Sunday, Kristalina Georgieva said Russia's invasion and the resulting sanctions on Moscow have forced the world's poorest to bear the worst of the crisis as they grapple with inflated food costs and scarcer jobs.
Ms. Georgieva hinted that the current situation evoked the lead-up to the 2011 uprisings known as the Arab Spring, when skyrocketing bread prices fueled anti-government protests across the Middle East.
“When prices jump, and poor people cannot feed their families, they will be on the streets,” she said. “One thing we know about trouble in one place, it travels, it doesn't stay there.” Ms. Georgieva called for greater global cooperation to fill the gaps in commodity and energy supplies.
“Please, work together,” she said. “Oil producers, gas producers and food producers today are in a position to help reduce this uncertainty.” She cited Ukraine's importance as a top wheat exporter in urging a swift resolution to the war.
“The faster the tanks are out, the faster the tractors will be in,” she said. “We need by July the harvest in Ukraine to contribute to the stability of food prices.”