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Acute Food Insecurity and Conflict in Africa

By the Africa Center for Strategic Studies

February 17, 2017

Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.

Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.
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Historic droughts in East and Southern Africa have caused food prices to skyrocket to record levels, doubling the price of staple cereals in some areas. The areas of greatest food insecurity, however, are those affected by conflict. An arc of conflict-affected countries, largely overlapping regions of greatest food insecurity, spans the center of the continent  from Somalia to Mali. In addition to disrupting production, conflict undercuts markets that would normally bring food to areas of greatest shortage. In some places, conflict prevents even conducting a full assessment of the level of food insecurity. And because countries in conflict lack the resilience or coping mechanisms of more stable areas, their food crises tend to last longer and have more lasting impact. In short:

  • Nineteen African countries are facing crisis, emergency, or catastrophic levels of food insecurity
  • Ten of those countries are experiencing civil conflict
  • Eight of those ten countries are autocracies
  • Those eight are also the source of 82 percent of the 18.5 million Africans that are internally displaced or refugees

Africa Center Expert

Additional Resources

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