Africa Getting Hungrier; Food Aid ‘Swimming Against Tide’

Africa Getting Hungrier; Food Aid ‘Swimming Against Tide’

Obama aid won’t keep up with hunger in Africa, according to a report in Business Week.

By 2023, about 34 percent of sub-Saharan Africa will face food insecurity, compared to 29 percent today, says a new U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

Hunger worldwide is expected to reach 868 million by 2023, up from 707 million this year. Sub-Saharan Africa, one of four regions included in the USDA’s study of 76 low- and middle-income nations, will be home to 373 million of them, almost 50 percent more than this year, the report says.

The Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Eritrea, Somalia and Zambia will continue to be among the world’s hungriest nations.

In Uganda, food insecurity could reach 70 percent of the population. Malawi, which has dramatically increased grain production over the past five years, still can’t grow enough to feed a population expected to increase 3.3 percent a year over the next 10 years, according to the report. Zambian population growth is expected to outpace a 2.7 percent rise in grain output, according to the USDA, the Business Week report said.

There have been improvements in some areas of sub-Saharan Africa that helped reduce hunger from more than 50 percent of the population in 1995, to less than a third today, the report said. These include progress against corruption, warfare and improvement in infrastructure for food production and distribution. Since those issues have seen improvements, that leaves demographic change as the presumed major contributor to hunger today, the Business Week report said.

Foreign aid does lift the lives of millions in these nations, the Business Week report said.

Ultimately, economic maturity could slow population growth in the same way that it has improved lives and lowered family sizes in other parts of the world. Until that trend takes over, however, domestic food production and purchased imports won’t be able to meet demand. And that means global aid efforts will continue to swim against a tide that pledges alone can’t turn, Business Week reports.