Editor’s Note: May 09, 2019
Africa can feed the world – in theory
Maize production in Zambia has fallen by 16% this year due to a regional drought, prompting the government to suspend exports of the crop.
It’s the latest piece of bad news for food security in Africa.
In January neighbouring Angola declared a state of emergency, with 2.3m people at risk of hunger. In the Horn of Africa close to 25m people are facing a food crisis due to poor rainfall.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has just warned that 52m people in the Near East and North Africa are suffering from chronic undernourishment.
This is rising across the continent, affecting 20% of its total population. In sub -Saharan Africa the number of undernourished people has risen by 32.6m since 2015.
On the Global Hunger Index all but 4 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are experiencing serious or alarming severity levels.
Meanwhile Africa’s annual $35bn food import bill is expected to more than triple to $110bn by 2025. This despite a seven-fold increase in intra-African agricultural exports between 2000 – 2013, from $2bn – $13.7bn, according to FAO.
All of this follows years of talk about a Green Revolution. A common phrase is that Africa, which is home to 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land, can ‘feed the world’.
From The Continent
Kenya plans to spend $210m on modernizing an old railway link to neighbouring Uganda, which will connect to its new $3.2bn Chinese-funded standard gauge railway. The plan follows a failed bid to secure additional loans from Beijing to build a new link to Uganda. More: Reuters
Angola’s president João Lourenço has sacked the chair of the country’s state-run oil company Sonangol, Carlos Saturnino, amid an acute fuel shortage in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer. No reason has been given for the dismissal, but it comes a day after the president promised swift action to resolve the problem. More: Reuters
The Daily Stat
The share of votes South Africa's ruling African National Congress has secured in the country’s May 8 general election, with 14% of ballots counted. More: Bloomberg
The Global Perspective
The International Monetary Fund has warned that Uganda’s public debt metrics are weakening, and that levels could rise to 50.7% of GDP by 2022, up from 42.2% this year. In March 2018 the country’s own central bank warned about rising default risk due to ballooning debt. More: Bloomberg
South Sudan has reportedly signed a new contract with California-based lobby firm Gainful Solutions following criticism of a $3.7m deal aimed at improving relations with Washington. The country is emerging from a crippling five-year civil war, with much of its population thought to be at risk of hunger. More: Reuters