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482. Overview of Food Security and Nutrition in Africa

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On February 8, 2022, Chief Cabinet Secretary MATSUNO Hirokazu announced that the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) will be held on August 27 and 28, 2022 in Tunisia. TICAD was launched by the Japanese government in 1993 to promote development, peace and stability in Africa by strengthening multilateral cooperation and partnership. This will be the second time Africa is hosting the conference since Nairobi, Kenya hosted the TICAD6 in 2016.

Agriculture, as a major industry, is essential for Africa's development and is also very important from the perspective of food security. In 2021, FAO published the report Africa - Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021. The report uses a lot of statistical data and charts, making it easy to visualize the trends in Africa. The key messages of the report are as follows:

  • Africa is not on track to meet the food security and nutrition targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2. After a long period of improvement between 2000 and 2013, hunger situation has worsened substantially and most of this deterioration occurred between 2019 and 2020.
  • In 2020, 281.6 million Africans were undernourished, an increase of 89.1 million over 2014.
  • There is significant variation in the levels and trends of hunger across the subregions. About 44.4 percent of undernourished people on the continent live in Eastern Africa, 26.7 percent in Western Africa, 20.3 percent in Central Africa, 6.2 percent in Northern Africa, and 2.4 percent in Southern Africa.
  • In addition to the 346.4 million Africans suffering from severe food insecurity, 452 million suffer from moderate food insecurity.
  • Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns are the key drivers of food insecurity in Africa.
  • By disrupting economic and livelihood activities, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic economic downturn in Africa and contributed to the worsening food security situation.
  • In the short term, countries need to provide humanitarian assistance and effective social protection measures to effectively improve food security and nutrition. Over the longer term, countries will need to invest in agriculture and related sectors, as well as in water, health, and in education services to reduce vulnerabilities and build capacities to withstand shocks from climate change and conflicts, as well as economic downturns and slowdowns.
  • Although the percentage of stunting among children under five in Africa is gradually declining, it remains high at 30.7 percent, and the number of stunted children continues to rise. However, the percentage of African children who are overweight remains slightly below the global average.
  • The percentage of overweight under-five children in Africa is 5.3%, below the global average, but much higher in Northern and Southern Africa, at 13% and 12.1%, respectively. While progress was made between 2000 and 2015, the rate of overweight is rising in all regions.
  • About 122.7 million women of reproductive age are affected by anaemia. The prevalence has fallen over the last 10 years, but progress is much too slow to achieve the global nutrition targets.
  • The prevalence of full breastfeeding in Africa is 43.6 percent, about the same as the global average. Eastern Africa has achieved considerable progress, reaching 60.7 percent in 2019. Southern and Western Africa, on the other hand, is far below the global average.
  • The overall adult obesity rate in Africa is 12.8%, which is the same as the global average, but the rate in North and Southern Africa is about twice the global average, while the rest of the world is below the average. The adult obesity rate is on the rise in all regions of Africa, with the fastest growth in North and Southern Africa.

Africa – Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2021

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Contributor: KANAMORI Norihito (Information and Public Relations Office)