Food Security and COVID-19 in Africa: Implications and Recommendations

View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Health Financing and Economics, Directorate General of Health Planning & Policy, Federal Ministry of Health, Khartoum, Sudan;
  • 2 Department of Health Economics, Alsudani Centre for Training in Heal Economics ACTHE, Khartoum, Sudan;
  • 3 School of Medicine, Ahfad University for Women, Khartoum, Sudan;
  • 4 Medical Research Center, Kateb University, Kabul, Afghanistan;
  • 5 Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom;
  • 6 Faculty of Management and Development Studies, University of the Philippines (Open University), Los Baños, Philippines

Before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged Africa, a large percentage of Africans were already affected by poverty and food insecurity. The pandemic wreaked havoc on their already unfavorable situation. The direct and indirect impacts of COVID-19 included but not limited to illness and deaths of food systems’ workers, interruption of food supply chains, unemployment, depreciation of currency value, and disruption of social protection programs. COVID-19 will lead to further economic fallout. Thus, the situation needs careful observation and timely intervention to safeguard the vulnerable African communities. Although Africa has sought ways to lessen the dire impact of the pandemic on food security, short-term solutions should include and enhance social and economic relief initiatives such as monetary intervention and social safety net. Considering a balance between health benefits of COVID-19 restrictions and their economic implications, the African countries, at the regional level, must preserve open and efficient social protection programs and cross-border supply and distribution networks for agricultural inputs. Africa’s medium- and long-term strategies for improving food security should include improving and diversifying its agricultural productivity and production of key food commodities. This will reduce Africa’s dependence on importation of these key commodities, and will help the continent address underlying economic vulnerabilities and better manage food, pandemic, and/or health-related crises affecting food security in the long term.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Attaullah Ahmadi, Medical Research Center, Kateb University, Darulaman Rd., Kabul 1004, Afghanistan. E-mail: attaullah.ahmadi@kateb.edu.af

Authors’ addresses: Esraa Mahadi Ali Mohamed, Department of Health Financing and Economics, Directorate General of Health Planning & Policy, Federal Ministry of Health, Khartoum, Sudan, and Department of Health Economics, Alsudani Centre for Training in Heal Economics ACTHE, Khartoum, Sudan, E-mail: esraamahadi@gmail.com. Samar Mohammed Alhaj Abdallah, School of Medicine, Ahfad University for Women, Khartoum, Sudan, E-mail: summerdrought62@gmail.com. Attaullah Ahmadi, Medical Research Center, Kateb University, Kabul, Afghanistan. E-mail: attaullah.ahmadi@kateb.edu.af. Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III, Department of Global Health and Development, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom, and International Health Program, Faculty of Management and Development Studies, University of the Philippines Open University Los Baños, Laguna, Philippines. E-mail: don-eliseo.lucero-prisno@lshtm.ac.uk.

Save