40 million children may be hungry in Africa by 2025

The number of hungry children in Africa will increase by 3.3 million by 2025 if current policy and investment trends continue, according to a new report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

If current trends continue, child malnutrition in Africa is expected to grow from 38.6 million to 41.9 million by 2025. Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly Burkina Faso, Niger, Somalia, and Sudan, will account for the sharpest increase, but West Asia and North Africa will actually see a decline of 2.3 million hungry children.Poor governance, inadequate infrastructure, limited access to markets, and low investment inagriculture contribute to the underperformance of Africa’s agricultural sector, the report contends. Sound policies and increased investments targeted to these areas, however, can strengthen food security and reduce child malnutrition significantly across the continent. Investments in rural roads and information and communication technologies, such as telephones and the Internet, can lead to more efficient markets and improve farmers’ productivity, while innovative crop, land, and water management practices would encourage more sustainable agricultural production.

The report also projects the impact of improved policies and increased investments. Under the “visionscenario,” the number of hungry children in Africa would decrease dramatically to 9.4 million by 2025 if policies and investments were put in place today to accelerate agricultural productivity and economic growth, reduce population growth rates, and improve access to education, health care, and clean water.