In many places around the world, hunger is worse than ever before.
That’s the message of the 2022 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC), released this week. The report paints a grim picture of global food security. Almost 193 million people across 53 countries/territories were acutely food insecure in 2021, up nearly 40 million people from 2020. This number represents a new record and is only expected to worsen throughout 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have wide-ranging impacts on living standards, poverty, food insecurity, and economic stability across the globe. For low-income regions like Africa south of the Sahara (SSA), these impacts are particularly devastating. Many countries in SSA struggled with food insecurity before the outbreak of COVID-19, and the pandemic has only exacerbated those challenges by disrupting domestic food value chains, reducing remittances and other income, and lowering populations’ purchasing power and food access.
As Ethiopia’s population has become increasingly urbanized over the past decade, more and more households have come to rely on markets, rather than their own farms, for their daily food needs. This dependence means that well-functioning agri-food value chains have become increasingly vital to food security for much of the population.
With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting livelihoods, and the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) now beginning to influence food flows, agricultural trade in Africa is in a state of flux, with both challenges and opportunities. While AfCFTA implementation has begun, some crucial negotiations remain to be completed, and the full scope of its impact is not yet clear.
Alarming levels of hunger and food insecurity are on the rise across the globe. According to the September 2021 mid-year update to the 2021 Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC), an estimated 161 million people in 42 countries/territories have faced Crisis-level (IPC/CH Phase 3) food insecurity or higher. This number is up from the estimated 155 million acutely food-insecure people reported by the GRFC for 2020.