The year of the Covid-19 pandemic marked by an increase in hunger in Africa (UN / AU)


This new interactive report shows that the food crisis has worsened in Africa. In 2020, more than 281 million Africans were undernourished, 46 million more than in 2019 and even 89 million more than in 2014, the report said. The number of hungry people in Africa continues to rise, due to conflict, climate change and economic downturns, especially those caused by the covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to the 346 million Africans severely food insecure, 452 million are moderately food insecure. But the prevalence of undernourishment is highest in Central Africa (31%) and East Africa (28%), but the deterioration that started in 2014 was fastest in West Africa, where the prevalence of undernourishment increased by 7.1 percentage points.

125 million undernourished people live in East Africa (44%)

This digital report released by the African Union Commission (AUC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is the latest updated version of their annual report on the state of food security and nutrition in Africa.

Hunger levels vary considerably from one sub-region to another. Of the total number of undernourished, 125 million people live in East Africa (44%). West Africa (75 million; 27%), Central Africa (57 million; 20%), North Africa (17 million; 6%) and southern Africa (over 6 million ; 2.4%).

On the continent, hunger has worsened dramatically since 2013, the report says, and most of this deterioration occurred between 2019 and 2020. The UN and AU believe the situation has further deteriorated. deteriorated this year and that the main drivers of hunger have not abated.

Africa’s real gross domestic product fell 2.1% in 2020

In total, Africa accounts for more than half of the global increase in the number of undernourished people over the period 2014-2020. In addition, East and West Africa account for 83% of the increase in the number of undernourished people across the continent between 2014 and 2020.

Africa’s real gross domestic product fell 2.1% in 2020, mainly due to the covid-19 pandemic, and many governments quickly expanded social protection measures to protect the most vulnerable.

According to the UN and AU, the food security situation is determined by a number of key factors, which often overlap. Conflicts, climatic variability and extremes, as well as economic downturns and downturns are the main drivers of food insecurity in Africa.

UN, AU urge African countries to transform their agrifood systems

By disrupting economic activities and livelihoods, the covid-19 pandemic has caused a dramatic economic downturn in Africa and contributed to the worsening food security situation.

Besides hunger, millions of Africans suffer from widespread micronutrient deficiencies, while overweight and obesity are already major public health problems in many countries.

In the face of these worrying figures, short-term measures countries must take to fight hunger include providing humanitarian assistance and adopting effective social protection measures, the report said.

In the longer term, countries will need to invest in agriculture and related sectors, as well as in water, health and education services. The three organizations behind the report urge African countries to heed their call to transform agrifood systems.

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