Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A day of number crunching on hunger in SADC

The Southern African Development Community suffers from a food crises. The impact is certainly not uniform. On a country level both impact and direction of change is very different. Here are some facts:

- Hunger is a problem on an enormous scale: 95 million people or almost half the SADC population are undernourished. That is twice the number of people living in South Africa.

- Hunger tends to be more acute in certain regions. Almost half of undernourished people in SADC are in the Democratic Republic of Congo alone. Almost 84% of undernourished people in SADC are found in only five countries: DRC, Tanzania, Mozambique, Angola and Madagascar, 15% are in Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi and 1.5% in the rest of SADC.

- In absolute terms hunger is increasing, but the rate at which this increase is happening is slowing down. For the whole of SADC the rate of growth in undernourished people slowed down from 46% between the time periods 1990-1992 and 1995-97 (roughly 9% pa), to 10% between the time periods 2000-02 to 2004-6 (roughly 2.5% pa).

- There are mixed successes across the region in responding to the problem. Countries with large undernourished populations are either making good progress (Angola, Mozambique, Zimbabwe) or are making very poor or poor progress (DRC, Tanzania, Madagascar, Zambia).

- Early prognosis?: In the cases of countries with large undernourished populations, the scale of the problem is such that a normal business as usual approach will not eradicate hunger in the forseeable future.

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