Analytical Corner: Climate Change and Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa


Location: Cedar Hall, HQ1-1-660


Successive shocks from the Ukraine war and COVID-19 pandemic have heightened food prices and depressed incomes, which have raised the number of food insecure in SSA by at least 30 percent to 123 million in 2022. The rising frequency and intensity of droughts, floods, and cyclones as well as higher temperatures and sea levels are set to exacerbate this number. The wide-ranging macroeconomic consequences of food insecurity can have lasting adverse effects, especially on economic growth and poverty. Addressing the lack of resilience to climate change will require careful policy prioritization against a backdrop of substantial financing and capacity constraints. Key areas of focus that could be most impactful include (i) fiscal policies focused on social assistance and efficient public infrastructure investment can improve poorer households’ access to affordable food, facilitate expansion of climate-resilient agricultural production, and support quicker recovery from adverse climate events; (ii) improving digitalization and telecommunications to support access to finance is key to stepping up private investment in agricultural resilience and productivity thus improving the earning capacity of poorer rural and urban households; and (iii) greater regional trade integration, complemented with resilient transport infrastructure, enables sales of one country’s bumper harvests to its neighbors facing shortages—substantially improving households’ welfare by reducing food insecurity and promoting stability of food prices. The international community can help with financial assistance—especially for social assistance and key infrastructure areas—capacity development and facilitating transfers of technology and know-how.

Mai Farid
  John Spray
and Pacific