Chapter 1 Sustainable Development Goal 2.1: undernourishment and food insecurity

Key messages
  • Africa is not on track to meet the food security and nutrition targets of Sustainable Development Goal 2. After a long period of improvement between 2000 and 2013, hunger has worsened substantially and most of this deterioration occurred between 2019 and 2020.
  • In 2020, 281.6 million Africans were undernourished, an increase of 89.1 million over 2014.
  • There is significant variation in the levels and trends of hunger across the subregions. About 44.4 percent of undernourished people on the continent live in Eastern Africa, 26.7 percent in Western Africa, 20.3 percent in Central Africa, 6.2 percent for Northern Africa, and 2.4 percent for Southern Africa.
  • In addition to the 346.4 million Africans suffering from severe food insecurity, 452 million suffer from moderate food insecurity.
  • Conflict, climate variability and extremes, and economic slowdowns and downturns are the key drivers of food insecurity in Africa.
  • By disrupting economic and livelihood activities, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic economic downturn in Africa and contributed to the worsening food security situation.
  • In the short term, countries need to provide humanitarian assistance and effective social protection measures to effectively improve food security and nutrition. Over the longer term, countries will need to invest in agriculture and related sectors, as well as in water, health, and in education services to reduce vulnerabilities and build capacities to withstand shocks from climate change and conflicts, as well as economic downturns and slowdowns.