Hunger Is Spreading in Africa

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Hunger Is Spreading in Africa
By: By Abraham McLaughlin and Christian Allen Purefoy, The Christian Science Monitor
01 August 2005
 
Food aid is beginning to flow into Niger, where some 2.9 million people face food shortages.

Scraping by: Women in Koumboula in southern Niger scrape millet on the ground to grind it. Africa is the only continent where hunger is increasing.
(Photo: Finbarr O’Reilly / Reuters) Johannesburg, South Africa and Maradi, Niger - Heart-wrenching stories of hunger are starting to flow out of the West African nation of Niger - stories of people like the proud, round-faced mother of an infant named Raba, who walked a day’s journey to bring her emaciated son to a feeding center. Already this mother - who was reluctant to give her name because of the shame of it all - has buried five of her 11 children after they succumbed to the hunger that increasingly grips her land.

Yet amid the growing focus on Niger’s woes, the broader fact is that the country’s 2.9 million hungry people are just a fraction of Africa’s 31.1 million food-deprived masses, scattered across Sudan’s Darfur region, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Uganda, and elsewhere. Despite progress in boosting democracy, ending wars, and economic growth, Africa is the only region in the world becoming less and less able to feed itself.

Reasons include the relentless spread of desert and drought, high population growth, bad governance, and the world community’s flawed hunger-response system.

In all, "Things are moving in the wrong direction," says Marc Cohen of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington. "If we look at sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, all the projections are that poverty and hunger are going to get worse."

In 1970, sub-Saharan Africa had 18 million malnourished children. By 1997 there were 32 million, according to IFPRI. The global trend, meanwhile, moved in the opposite direction: 203 million hungry children in 1970 down to 166 million in 1997, according to a recent IFPRI report.

The focus on Niger appears to be growing, in part because a British Broadcasting Corp. team recently emerged from the remote, landlocked nation with terrible images of starving children that were broadcast around the world.

Aid is now flowing in. Last Thursday and Friday, 306 tons of beans and oil were delivered to Tahoua, some 250 miles northwest of Maradi, the eastern town that has become a hub for aid agencies. On Friday, 28 tons of high-energy biscuits were airlifted from Italy to Niamey, Niger’s capital. On Saturday, a French aid organization sent 20 tons of enriched milk and a highly nutritional peanut paste. The UN now says it will double the number of people it plans to feed, to 2.5 million.


Themes
• Access to natural resources
• Access to natural resources
• Access to natural resources
• Accompanying social processes
• Accompanying social processes
• Adverse possession
• Advocacy
• Advocacy
• Advocacy
• Architecture
• Architecture
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Armed / ethnic conflict
• Basic services
• Basic services
• Basic services
• Children
• Children
• Commodification
• Commodification
• Cultural Heritage
• Cultural Heritage
• Demographic manipulation
• Destruction of habitat
• Destruction of habitat
• Destruction of habitat
• Disability
• Disability
• Disaster mitigation
• Disaster mitigation
• Discrimination
• Discrimination
• Discrimination
• Displaced
• Displaced
• Displaced
• Displacement
• Displacement
• Displacement
• Dispossession
• Dispossession
• Dispossession
• Education
• Education
• Elderly
• Elderly
• Energy
• Energy
• Epidemics, diseases
• Epidemics, diseases
• ESC rights
• ESC rights
• ESC rights
• Extraterritorial obligations
• Extraterritorial obligations
• Fact finding mission/field research
• Farmers/Peasants
• Financialization
• Financialization
• Financialization
• Food (rights, sovereignty, crisis)
• Food (rights, sovereignty, crisis)
• Forced evictions
• Forced evictions
• Forced evictions
• Gentrification
• Gentrification
• Health
• Health
• Historic heritage sites
• Historic heritage sites
• Homeless
• Homeless
• Homeless
• Housing crisis
• Housing rights
• Housing rights
• Housing rights
• Human rights
• Human rights
• Human rights
• Immigrants
• Immigrants
• Indigenous peoples
• Indigenous peoples
• Informal settlements
• Internal migrants
• Internal migrants
• Internal migrants
• Land rights
• Landless
• Legal frameworks
• Legal frameworks
• Legal frameworks
• Livelihoods
• Local Governance
• Local Governance
• Local Governance
• Low income
• Norms and standards
• Norms and standards
• Norms and standards
• Property rights
• Public policies
• Public policies
• Public policies
• Public programs and budgets
• Public programs and budgets
• Public programs and budgets
• Refugees
• Refugees
• Religious
• Religious
• Reparations / restitution of rights
• Research
• Research
• Right to the city
• Right to the city
• Security of tenure
• Security of tenure
• Security of tenure
• Stateless
• Stateless
• Subsidies
• Subsidies
• Temporary shelter
• Temporary shelter
• Tenants
• Tenants
• UN system
• UN system
• UN system
• Unemployed
• Unemployed
• Urban planning
• Urban planning
• Water&sanitation
• Water&sanitation
• Women
• Women
• Youth
• Youth

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