UAE, the UAE’s commercial hub, has launched an app to tackle food poverty by helping families manage their finances, a development that may help ease the countrys financial squeeze.
The mobile app, called The Food Planner, will let families access monthly financial statements, provide them with access to financial planners and access the latest statistics on food prices and costs.
The app will also help families manage financial security by offering them an array of services and tools to manage their food bills, said Mohammad al-Hamdan, an advisor to the UAE Food and Food Products Authority, in an interview with the Reuters news agency.
The UAE’s economic woes have worsened over the past year as the world’s biggest exporter of grains, sugar and other food products, and its financial status has deteriorated.
The country’s unemployment rate of 15 percent has been the highest in the Middle East.
Its current unemployment rate is about 10 percent and inflation of about 15 percent, the World Bank said in a report in July.
The country is grappling with a rising tide of food insecurity, with at least 50 percent of the population living in poverty, according to the United Nations.
In January, the government announced it would phase out its subsidies to supermarkets to ease the food crisis, a move that could save the country as much as $5 billion annually.
But the subsidies are scheduled to be cut back by 2020, after which the government would continue to provide subsidies until 2025.
Hamdan said the UAE had to find ways to ensure food security in the face of an economic crisis.
“We have to be very careful not to become a food basket for those who have less,” he said.
“But if we are prepared, we can make it possible.”