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Food security levels are no longer improving globally, and the trend for Africa is especially worrying.
The latest United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report shows a forthcoming global shift of food insecurity towards Africa. It also points to multiple trends that threaten to undermine decades of global progress towards ensuring universal access to safe, nutritious food.
The report says around 690 million people worldwide suffered from undernourishment in 2019. Africa didn’t have the largest number of undernourished people in absolute terms (about 250 million against 380 million in Asia). However, it did have the highest proportion of citizens living without sufficient access to calories (about 19% against 8.3% in Asia).
But that isn’t the whole story. Between 1990 and 2012, the percentage of people suffering from undernutrition globally fell from nearly 25% to about 9% – a reduction of almost 500 million people. Over the same period in Africa, the percentage of undernourished people dropped from 29% to 17%.
Undernutrition is defined as the number of people ‘whose habitual food consumption is insufficient to provide the dietary energy levels required to maintain a normal active and healthy life.’