Food security

Southern Africa’s hunger hotspots

Four Southern African countries – Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar and Mozambique – are listed among those most at risk of increased food insecurity in the first half of 2022.

They are among 20 countries highlighted in the latest edition of Hunger Hotspots produced by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme. 

Of the 20 countries where food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further this year, 15 are in Africa. Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen remain at the highest alert level. Targeted humanitarian action is urgently needed to save lives and livelihoods in all 20 hunger hotspots, the report says.

Factors increasing global food insecurity include organised violence and conflict, weather extremes, and economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“Overall, high food prices and low household purchasing power are major economic concerns for further increasing acute food insecurity,” it says.

Angola has been hit by drought and consequent poor harvests. Economic recession and high food prices have also led to thousands of Angolans migrating to northern Namibia.

In the DRC, food insecurity is being worsened by protracted conflict and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In some areas malnutrition has risen sharply, while military operations and deteriorating insecurity are expected to further disrupt humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.

Madagascar has also been hit by drought, which is expected to continue in early 2022. An increased number of tropical cyclones has added to food insecurity, and the country is experiencing higher food, fuel and transport costs.

Mozambique has been hit by the continuing conflict in the northern part of the country, as well as floods, cyclones and recurrent natural shocks. In the northern Cabo Delgado region, some 745 000 people were displaced as of November 2021, and food insecurity has heightened.

Access to Mozambique’s conflict areas is difficult, and protection risks, especially for women and children, remain a critical challenge, the report says.