A Reflection on Progress in Achieving Zero Hunger in Africa

As we celebrate this year’s World Food Day, we have to reflect on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 – Zero Hunger – with the aim of ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture. We need to reflect on how far this goal has been achieved, in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is considered the greatest global health calamity of the century. COVID-19’s spread around the world is posing enormous health, economic, environmental, and social challenges for the entire human population.

African agriculture has failed to drive economic transformation on the continent. Although the continent has the capacity to produce food in surplus, it is currently a major net importer of food. In fact, food insecurity has been rising in Africa in recent years, and the continent is not on track to eliminate hunger by 2025. Many countries in Africa have made some progress towards reducing malnutrition. However, progress is too slow to meet the CAADP Malabo Declaration targets or even the 2030 SDGs.

Hear Professor Sidi Osho discuss the reasons for slow progress as well as policy options to accelerate the ending of hunger and malnutrition in Africa.

One of the key reasons for the poor agricultural performance on the African continent is the absence of a common platform to enable state and non-state actors to collaborate in a cooperative process of developing global, continental, and regional food and agriculture policies. Furthermore, most actors lack the knowledge and hands-on skills to effectively participate in agriculture policy development processes, leaving government departments to develop these alone.

At the Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN), we believe in investing in concerted efforts to build the capacity of ordinary state and non-state actors, including researchers, farmers, the private sector, and civil society in the field of policy. This will foster the transformation of African agriculture through meaningful engagement along the policy cycle.

I am excited about FANRPAN’s partnership with the University of Pretoria and the University of Leeds in the Food Systems Research Network for Africa (FSNet-Africa). This project seeks to strengthen inter-disciplinary food systems research and the translation of evidence into implementable interventions to support the SDG goals related to food systems across Africa.

As we celebrate this year’s World Food Day under the theme “African Action for Zero Hunger”, remember that your voice and contribution also matters in the African agricultural transformation agenda.