Egypt’s finance minister has warned that “millions” could die because of the food price crisis triggered by the Ukraine war, echoing warnings made by the UN and G7 countries as worries about a global wheat shortage intensify.

In an interview during a visit to London, Mohamed Maait warned of “food insecurity” around the world. However, he insisted Egypt had enough wheat to last until the end of the year.

“This is something that we have to be very careful about,” said Maait. “We will feel shame if we find that millions of people are dying because of food insecurity. They are not responsible for that, they didn’t do anything wrong.”

His comments come days after UN secretary-general Ant6nio Guterres warned the Ukraine conflict risked plunging “tens of millions” into famine.

“Global hunger levels are at a new high,” said Guterres. The war in Ukraine, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic were also all contributing to a crisis that could last for years, he warned.

Egypt’s finance minister Mohamed Maait is confident Egypt will not fall into recession this year despite global crises O Chris J Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

G7 countries last week launched a “Global Alliance for Food Security” with the World Bank, to co-ordinate a short-term response. The group aims to increase supplies of food, fertiliser and fuel and to provide financial support to help vulnerable countries avert famine.

Egypt is the world’s biggest wheat importer and runs a large-scale subsidised bread programme that serves almost 70mn people. Until the war it sourced