June 4, 2015 By Patrick J. Kamara
A report from the Food and Agricultural Organization says that seven countries in West Africa have performed strongly and achieved starkly superior results in hunger reduction and met the relevant Millennium Development Goal.
According to the first edition of the Regional Overview of Food Insecurity in Africa (2015), Angola, Djibouti, Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Mali and Sao Tome & Principe are the countries that halved the percentage of the population suffering from undernourishment.
“In absolute terms, that’s a reduction of the ranks of the hungry by almost 11 million; a significant progress despite rapid population growth and recurrent droughts in Sahel countries,” said Mr. Bukar Tijani, FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa, noting that the past quarter century has been a time of “major structural transformation” with vast demographic, economic and political changes for the continent.
The reported states that the number of underweight children in Sub-Saharan Africa has declined over the last two decades, while stunting has stagnated and overweight is on the rise among children below five years.
Despite the progress, the report says, there is considerable scope for improvement which remains with respect to the World Food Summit target of reducing the number of hungry people by half and the increase by 44 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole since 1990, in contrast with the global reduction in the number of hungry people to 795 million people today from 1.011 billion in 1990.
The 2015 Africa report on food insecurity also shows some factors of positive change and progress towards the MDG hunger goal. These multi-faceted and interrelated factors include economic growth, smallholder agriculture productivity, market access, international trade, social protection programming and timely access to information, says Mr. Bukar Tijani.