UN Report: Africa Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2018

Joint report by the Regional Office for Africa of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

Hunger in Africa continues to rise after many years of decline, threatening the continent’s hunger eradication efforts to meet the Malabo Goals 2025 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly the Sustainable Development Goal/SDG 2. Out of the 257 million hungry people in Africa, 237 million are in sub-Saharan Africa and 20 million in Northern Africa. The annual UN Report indicates that compared to 2015, there were an additional 34.5 million more undernourished people in Africa, of which 32.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa and 1.9 million in Northern Africa.

Key facts and figures
•    Number of hungry people in Africa: 257 million or 1 in every 5 people
•    Children under five affected by stunting (low height-for-age): 59 million (30.3 %)
•    Children under five affected by wasting (low weight-for-height): 13.8 million (7.1 %)
•    Children under five who are overweight (high weight-for-height): 9.7 million (5 %)
•    Percentage of women of reproductive age affected by anaemia: 38 %
•    Percentage of infants aged below 6 months who were exclusively breastfed: 43.5 %
•    Percentage of adults who are obese: 11.8 %

The Report reveals that more efforts are needed to achieve SDG 2 and the global nutrition targets amidst the important challenges faced by the continent, such as tackling youth employment and climate change.

At the same time, there are significant opportunities for agriculture in developing intra-African trade, harnessing remittances for development, and investing in youth. Remittances from international and internal migration play an important role in reducing poverty and hunger as well as stimulating productive investments. International remittances amount to nearly $70 billion, about three percent of Africa’s GDP, and present an opportunity for national development that governments should work on to strengthen.

The signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement provides an opportunity to accelerate growth and sustainable development by increasing trade, including trade in agricultural products. Although agricultural intra-African exports rose from $2 billion in 2000 to $13.7 billion in 2013, they remain relatively modest and often informal. The report highlights that opening trade of food also carries risks to consumer and producer welfare, and governments should avoid using trade policy for multiple objectives but rather combine trade reform with additional instruments, such as safety nets and risk-mitigating programmes, to achieve food security and nutrition goals.

More information: http://www.fao.org/3/CA2710EN/ca2710en.pdf

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