Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu

Tackling Food Insecurity in Africa

According to a report on ReliefWeb, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economic growth of African states continues to have far reaching implications with varied drivers, top among them, food insecurity.

Countries like Nigeria, with existing vulnerabilities, are currently experiencing a rise in inflation rates, a result of the ripple effects of lockdowns and national restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus.

Addressing the state of food security in Africa is necessary in order to achieve a sustainable economic development and create an inclusive and shared-prosperity for its people.

In a conversation between the CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation,, Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu and Director of Europe & Geopolitics, Shada Islam, Ifeyinwa highlighted the wrong priority on emphasising a financial economy than a real economy. “The focus should be on people, on jobs, on human capital, on productivity, as opposed to financial markets,” Ifeyinwa said in the interview.

“In order to create a future that is resilient and sustainable, the first port of call is food security. Food security for Africa, and for the globe,” she continued.

According to the January 2013 IISD Report “Food Price Inflation and Food Security: A Morocco case study”, “there is a need to meet domestic demand for food staples by easing restrictions on imports and continuing to reduce the gap between most-favoured nation tariffs and preferential tariffs, while keeping in mind the need to mitigate potential unintended negative consequences.”

Achieving food security requires that sufficient quantities of appropriate foods are consistently available, and that individuals, families and communities have adequate incomes or other resources to purchase or acquire food. However, this is a multi-dimensional problem which can be linked to healthcare, conflicts, policies, politics, leadership, trade, economic interests, and the environment.

Key drivers of food insecurity have expanded beyond conflict, and countries that have been affected would need to take a deep dive to figure out a compromise between policy and institutional reform, conflict resolution, infrastructure development, and the funding and implementation of community-based, food security-enhancing investments.

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