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This post originally appeared on IFPRI.org
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.
This blog post originally appeared on IFPRI.org and is part of a special series of analyses on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on national and global food and nutrition security, poverty, and development. The blog series is edited by IFPRI director general Johan Swinnen and A4NH director John McDermott.
Our window of opportunity for achieving SDG 2 — eradicating hunger and malnutrition and ensuring access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food for all by 2030 — is closing rapidly. However, far from moving closer to that goal, the world has seen a resurgence of hunger and food insecurity.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Senegal declared a state of emergency on March 23, 2020, followed by a range of policy measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus: Transport was significantly restricted, wet markets were closed, and shops were required to limit their hours. These moves disrupted food supply chains, in particular those of highly perishable products such as fresh fruits and vegetables (FFV).
The COVID-19 pandemic is undermining food and nutrition security on a global scale. IFPRI estimates show that globally, 80-140 million people were at risk of falling into extreme poverty in 2020, more than half in Africa south of the Sahara. The World Food Programme estimated that globally, the number of people facing acute food insecurity could double in the same period. These impacts—stemming from lost incomes due to lockdowns, fear of exposure, and medical expenses, as well as disruptions in food markets and value chains—are severely testing social protection systems in many countries.