Africa’s food system has experienced rapid transformation in recent years, driven by widespread urbanization and increasing incomes. In addition, initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Area have resulted in changes to market structure and functioning in an effort to spur regional trade and economic growth. These changes present new income-generating opportunities all along the agrifood value chain, from farmers to processors, traders, distributors, and the food service industry.
The agricultural sector in Africa south of the Sahara has taken on an increasingly complex role in the region’s overall development, playing a major part in poverty reduction, food security, economic growth, climate change resilience, job creation, and improved nutrition. West Africa has experienced substantial economic growth in recent decades, with many countries slated to enter middle-income status by 2030, according to a new IFPRI Discussion Paper .
Vulnerability to poverty – the risk of falling into poverty in the future – remains a challenge in developing countries for researchers and policymakers alike. While reducing populations’ vulnerability to shocks that could drive them into poverty is clearly an important step in improving well-being, measuring and quantifying vulnerability is complex and is often further complicated by a lack of accurate data.
Focusing on agricultural growth, particularly that of smallholder farmers, can help countries in Africa south of the Sahara achieve broader economic and development objectives, including poverty reduction, says a new open-access book prepared by the United Nations University (UNU-WIDER) and published by Oxford Press.