Page last updated at 01:13 GMT, Wednesday, 2 April 2008 02:13 UK

Riots prompt Ivory Coast tax cuts

Demonstrators hold a placard reading "Soro - let us get fat" in Abidjan, April 1, 2008
One person died as Ivorian demonstrators confronted riot police

Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo has cancelled custom duties after a second day of violent protests against rising food costs.

Mr Gbagbo also cut taxes on basic household products, saying he was sensitive to people's concerns.

But he added that increases in food prices were a world-wide problem.

One person was killed and at least 10 others injured on Tuesday as security forces dispersed demonstrations across the economic capital, Abidjan.

Anti-riot police fired in the air and used tear gas in an attempt to disperse predominantly female demonstrators who had set up barricades, burned tyres and closed major roads.

The protests were the latest in a series of similar demonstrations throughout the world against rising food prices, says the BBC's John James in Abidjan.

'Perfect storm'

Violent demonstrations against the rising cost of living have been staged in several West African countries, including Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

The cost of our food has doubled in just the last nine months
Josette Sheeran
WFP Executive Director

The protests are linked to the high price of oil, the growing demand for bio-fuels and the expanding economies of Asia and Latin America, our correspondent says.

They come as the head of the World Food Programme warned rising food prices had helped create a "perfect storm", leaving more people hungry than ever before.

"The cost of our food has doubled in just the last nine months," said WFP Executive Director Josette Sheeran. "We're very concerned about our operations."

Speaking to the joint African Union and Economic Commission for Africa conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, Ms Sheeran said the world was also confronting "a new face of hunger".

"We are seeing more urban hunger than ever before," she said.

"Often we are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it."

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