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News release

Food insecurity worsening across Africa, Afrobarometer surveys show

27 Apr 2023
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News release
Key findings
  •  On average across 30 African countries, more than half (57%) of respondents say they went without enough food at least once during the previous year. Almost one-fifth (18%) report experiencing shortages of food “many times” or “always” (Figure 1).
  •  Frequent food shortages were most common in Niger (40%) and Malawi (35%). Six countries report double-digit increases over the past decade in the share of the population who went without enough food “many times” or “always”: Nigeria (+21 percentage points), Namibia (+18), Niger (+15), Zimbabwe (+11), Kenya (+10), and Eswatini (+10) (Figure 2).
  •  Frequent shortages of food were more common in rural areas than in cities (23% vs. 15%) and among citizens without formal schooling (28%) compared to their more educated counterparts (10%-23%) (Figure 3).

The experience of going without enough food is becoming more frequent across much of Africa, the latest Afrobarometer surveys show, confirming United Nations warnings of worsening food insecurity.

On average across 30 African countries surveyed in 2021/2022, almost one-fifth of respondents say household members went without enough food “many times” or “always” during the previous year. More than half report experiencing a shortage of food at least once.

In 16 of the 30 countries, the share of households experiencing frequent food shortages has risen significantly over the past decade, while only three countries record improvement.

United Nations agencies warned last week that food insecurity and malnutrition are worsening in West and Central Africa and are expected to reach a 10-year high by June.