Africa Faces Unprecedented Food Crisis: UN Report

December 8, 2023 | by b1og.net


In a startling report released by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, it has been revealed that an unprecedented food crisis is gripping Africa. The report states that at least three out of every four Africans are unable to afford a healthy diet, leading to high levels of hunger and malnutrition across the continent. This dire situation is further compounded by conflicts, climate change, and the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With millions at risk of worsening hunger in the near future, Africa is struggling to meet its commitment to end hunger and malnutrition by 2025. As Africa’s population continues to grow and its wealth of natural resources remains untapped, urgent action is needed to address this escalating crisis.

Africa Faces Unprecedented Food Crisis: UN Report

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Causes of the Food Crisis in Africa


One of the major causes of the food crisis in Africa is the presence of conflicts and armed violence. In West and Central Africa, millions of people have been uprooted from their communities due to ongoing conflicts. This has resulted in the loss of livelihoods and the inability to access sufficient food. Similarly, in East Africa, climate change and extreme weather events have exacerbated conflicts and created severe threats to farmers. With the displacement of people and the disruption of agricultural activities, food production and distribution systems have been severely affected.


Climate Change

Climate change is another significant factor contributing to the food crisis in Africa. The continent is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as droughts, floods, and unpredictable weather patterns. These conditions directly affect agricultural productivity and lead to crop failures and livestock losses. Small-scale farmers, who make up a significant portion of the African population, are particularly susceptible to these climate-related challenges. As a result, food production is severely impacted, leading to food shortages and increased food prices.

Aftereffects of the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the food crisis in Africa. The continent has experienced rising hunger and malnutrition as a direct result of the pandemic’s aftereffects. The lockdowns and restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the virus led to disruptions in food supply chains, reduced incomes, and loss of livelihoods. As a result, millions of Africans have been pushed into food insecurity, unable to afford a sufficient and nutritious diet. The pandemic has worsened an already existing food crisis, further straining the continent’s ability to address food security issues.

Impact on African Population

High Levels of Hunger and Malnutrition

The food crisis in Africa has resulted in high levels of hunger and malnutrition among the population. According to the United Nations report, about 78% or more than one billion people in Africa cannot afford a healthy diet. This is significantly higher compared to the global level, where 42% of the population faces the same challenge. The lack of access to nutritious food leads to malnutrition, which has severe consequences for physical and cognitive development, especially among children.

Millions at Risk of Worsening Hunger

The food crisis in Africa is expected to worsen in the near future, putting millions of people at risk of intensified hunger. With conflicts, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting the continent, the number of food-insecure individuals is projected to rise. It is crucial to address the root causes of the food crisis and implement effective strategies to ensure the availability and affordability of nutritious food for all.

Increasing Poverty Rate

Africa is the only rapidly growing region where people are getting poorer despite its wealth of natural resources. The food crisis contributes to the increasing poverty rate in the continent. As incomes fail to keep pace with the skyrocketing prices of food, many families find it increasingly difficult to meet their basic needs. The lack of economic opportunities, coupled with the challenges imposed by the food crisis, perpetuates a cycle of poverty and food insecurity.

Failure to Meet Commitments

Africa’s Commitment to End Hunger by 2025

Despite Africa’s commitment to ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2025, the continent is far from achieving this goal. The food crisis poses significant challenges to the realization of this commitment. The United Nations report highlights the urgency to step up efforts and implement effective strategies to achieve food security for all Africans.


Wealth of Natural Resources vs. Hunger

Africa’s wealth of natural resources presents a paradox when it comes to addressing hunger. Despite having abundant resources, many African countries still struggle to feed their populations adequately. Issues related to governance, corruption, and mismanagement contribute to the misalignment between available resources and the ability to address food security challenges effectively.

Lack of Progress towards Global Nutrition Targets

The lack of progress towards global nutrition targets further emphasizes the severity of the food crisis in Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set global targets to address malnutrition and improve overall nutrition. However, the continent has struggled to make significant progress in achieving these targets. This highlights the need for stronger commitments and more effective interventions to tackle the food crisis and its underlying causes.

Food Insecurity Numbers in Africa

Severe Food Insecurity in 2022

In 2022, as many as 342 million Africans experienced severe food insecurity. This represents 38% of the total 735 million hungry people worldwide. The high number of individuals facing severe food insecurity underscores the urgency to address the food crisis and implement sustainable solutions to ensure access to nutritious food for all.

Comparison with Global Hunger Numbers

When comparing food insecurity in Africa with global hunger numbers, the continent faces significantly higher rates. Approximately 78% of Africa’s population cannot afford a healthy diet, while the global average stands at 42%. This disparity highlights the urgent need to prioritize addressing the food crisis in Africa and implement targeted interventions to alleviate hunger and malnutrition.

Impact on Children

High Stunting Rates among Children

One of the devastating consequences of the food crisis in Africa is the high prevalence of stunting among children. Malnutrition during the early stages of life leads to stunted growth, both physically and cognitively. The United Nations report reveals that 30% of children under the age of 5 in Africa suffer from stunting due to malnutrition. The long-term effects of stunting can have significant implications for their overall development and future opportunities.

Long-Term Effects of Malnutrition

Malnutrition not only affects children in the short term but also has long-term consequences. The lack of proper nutrition during critical developmental stages can result in cognitive impairments, reduced learning abilities, and increased susceptibility to diseases. Addressing the food crisis in Africa is essential to ensure that children have access to adequate and nutritious food, providing them with the foundation for a healthy and prosperous future.

COVID-19’s Effect on Food Security

Additional Undernourished Africans

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in the number of undernourished Africans. The report states that an additional 57 million Africans have become undernourished since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total to nearly 282 million individuals. The pandemic’s disruptions to food supply chains, loss of incomes, and economic hardships have worsened food insecurity across the continent, exacerbating the already dire food crisis.

Worsening Hunger during the Pandemic

The food crisis in Africa has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report highlights that hunger has substantially worsened, with the majority of the deterioration occurring between 2019 and 2022. The pandemic’s effects, including lockdowns and restrictions, have disrupted food production, distribution, and access, leading to increased hunger and malnutrition. Urgent action is necessary to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on food security in Africa.

Food Crisis in Nigeria

Inability to Afford a Healthy Diet

Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy and a top oil producer, faces a severe food crisis. The report reveals that nearly 93% of the country’s population, consisting of more than 210 million people, cannot afford a healthy diet. The inability to access nutritious food exacerbates the food crisis and highlights the need for targeted interventions and policy reforms to ensure food security for all Nigerians.

Government Expenditure on Luxuries

The food crisis in Nigeria has raised concerns about the government’s priorities in allocating resources. Despite the widespread food insecurity, the government has been criticized for allocating significant funds to luxury expenditures, such as cars and house renovations for the president and his wife. This misallocation of resources showcases the need for accountability and transparency in addressing the food crisis and ensuring that adequate investments are made to address the root causes of hunger.

Calls for Agrifood Systems Transformation

Need for Systematic Change

Addressing the food crisis in Africa requires a systematic change in agrifood systems. The United Nations agencies stress the importance of agrifood systems transformation to improve production, nutrition, and overall livelihoods. This calls for comprehensive interventions that address the entire food value chain, from production to distribution to consumption. By implementing sustainable and equitable agricultural practices and supporting small-scale farmers, Africa can ensure food security for its population.

Holistic Approach towards Production and Nutrition

A holistic approach that integrates production and nutrition is crucial to tackle the food crisis in Africa. It is not just about increasing food production but also improving the nutritional value of the food available. This involves promoting diversification of agriculture, enhancing access to nutritious foods, and educating communities about healthy eating practices. By taking a holistic approach, Africa can achieve sustainable food security and improve the overall well-being of its population.

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Role of Education, Health, and Energy Systems

Interconnectedness of Systems

The food crisis in Africa is intricately connected to education, health, and energy systems. Adequate access to education ensures that communities have the knowledge and skills to sustainably manage agricultural practices and make informed dietary choices. Health systems play a vital role in addressing malnutrition and providing necessary healthcare interventions. Similarly, reliable energy systems are essential for food production, storage, and processing. By recognizing the interconnectedness of these systems, Africa can develop comprehensive strategies to address the food crisis and improve overall well-being.

Addressing Multiple Aspects of Food Crisis

Efforts to achieve food security in Africa should not be limited to addressing food production alone. It is essential to address multiple aspects of the food crisis, including education, health, and energy systems. By promoting education about sustainable agricultural practices, improving healthcare access, and developing reliable energy infrastructure, Africa can create a conducive environment for addressing the underlying causes of the food crisis and ensuring long-term food security.


The food crisis in Africa is a pressing issue that requires immediate attention and concerted efforts. With conflicts, climate change, and the aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of Africans are facing high levels of hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. In order to achieve food security, it is crucial to address the root causes of the food crisis and implement comprehensive interventions. This includes transforming agrifood systems, taking a holistic approach towards production and nutrition, and recognizing the interconnectedness of education, health, and energy systems. By prioritizing food security and investing in sustainable solutions, there is hope for better production and nutrition in Africa.

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