Despite the vast wealth of African countries, there is still an alarming number of people in Africa who are suffering from insecurity and poverty. Insecurity and poverty can result from several problems. Some of these include poverty, malnutrition, climate change, and conflict. Developing a solution to these problems is crucial to alleviate insecurity and poverty.
Africa is one of the most susceptible continents in the world and is now under more and more threat from climate change. These include water stress, migration, food insecurity, and population displacement.
As a result of these climate change impacts, Africa faces many social and political challenges. Some countries are experiencing increased violence and conflict. Others are experiencing increased food insecurity, droughts, and desertification.
In addition to promoting poverty, these impacts are negatively affecting migration patterns. These changes are happening concurrently with societal and economic transformations. This highlights the need for an integrated approach to climate and agriculture value chains.
In Africa, agri-food systems are vulnerable to climate change. This is because extreme weather events can damage crops, disrupt food transport, and lead to disease. In addition, climate change can exacerbate desertification. Climate change can also increase social tensions between urban and rural dwellers.
Increased pest damage can reduce crop productivity.
As a result of climate change, the availability of water has declined, which has led to increased competition over resources. This increased competition is causing social tensions. In addition, droughts, water scarcity, and population displacement have been contributing to conflict.
Africa is also suffering from one of the highest prevalences of energy deprivation. According to estimates, more than half of the population does not have access to power. In addition, 900 million people lack access to clean cooking technologies.
This is particularly prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the growing climate change impacts, Africa has made great efforts to drive the global climate agenda. However, African countries must invest more in climate adaptation to realize their full potential.
Africa’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are the primary tool governments use to guide policy responses to climate change. These NDCs are in the process of being revised.
The 52 African countries in this process are expected to submit their updated NDCs in 2020. These NDCs emphasize shifting from inefficient to efficient energy sources but must not prevent development.
African countries have recognized agriculture’s critical role in the global response to climate change. Currently, less than 1 percent of arable land in Africa is equipped with irrigation. This lack of infrastructure has hindered the ability of rural communities to protect themselves against extreme weather events.
Throughout the past several decades, violent conflicts have plagued Sub-Saharan Africa. For several reasons, this is accurate. The continent’s weak governance is a significant contributor. High levels of poverty and underdevelopment also plague it. These factors contribute to the problems of insecurity.
There are three main types of conflicts. First is state-based conflict, where violence occurs between two or more organized groups. This includes civil wars, ethnic and religious conflicts, secessionist conflicts, and wars between African nations.
Second, there are non-state-based conflicts, where there is violence between two or more groups, often without the state’s involvement. This includes the conflict in Darfur, a longstanding dispute between the government of Sudan and the Sudanese rebels.
Third, there are proxy wars, which were part of the bipolar competition in the Cold War.
For sub-Saharan Africa, the most significant effect of a conflict is the reduction in revenue and the expenditure on military and security-related services. These costs divert resources from development. A country’s per capita GDP is about 8 percent lower than before the conflict.
There is also a negative correlation between conflict and growth. In sub-Saharan Africa, growth is about two percentage points lower during a conflict. The growth effect is huge during more intense conflicts. These conflicts result in more displacement and high fiscal costs to the region.
The most exciting part is that these effects are less significant during low-intensity conflicts. However, the effect is still relatively large. These effects are most significant during conflict cases where there is a shift in the composition of public spending. This shift is primarily toward military spending. This makes for strained public finances.
While no single cause of conflict exists, poverty and underdevelopment are significant contributors. This is especially true in Africa, where people often come from poor backgrounds.
Several institutional factors contribute to insecurity, including weak state institutions and a breakdown in the social contract. It is not surprising, then, that conflict and insecurity in Africa are complex problems.
Structural adjustment programs
During the Cold War, International Financial Institutions (IFIs) sought to promote capitalism in African states. However, IFIs feared that African states would lose their sovereignty if they relied on IFIs to help them develop. IFIs proposed structural adjustment programs (SAPs) to solve the problem.
Designed to promote free market economics, SAPs emphasize privatization, macroeconomic stabilization, and a free trade environment. However, critics argue that these policies do not address developing countries’ social and institutional weaknesses.
World Bank estimates that the 300 million poorest people worldwide are expected to live in Africa. The majority of people are unemployed, underemployed, and consume necessities. A weak domestic market exacerbates this situation. This is due to a lack of investment, wage constraints, and increased interest rates.
Many African states tried to reverse this trend through import substitution industrialization and state-led investments. However, these efforts failed. In addition, environmental hazards and disease contributed to poverty.
Furthermore, the colonial legacy left developmental deficiencies in many African states.
A primary goal of the U.S. and other multilateral lenders is to reduce world poverty. To achieve this, IMF policies often carry severe economic costs. These policies also shrink national economies and reduce the buying power of residents.
The IMF’s Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) is a concessional lending facility for least-developed countries. The program has hurt the economic growth of developing countries in Africa. It has also contributed to the decline in per capita income.
The ESAF program was extended for two years, from 1992 to 1997. However, these African countries did not perform as well as other ESAF countries. The SAPs’ failure to consider the diverse demands of the nations was the fundamental cause of this.
Structural adjustment programs did not reduce poverty in Africa. Instead, they were a political ploy to achieve macroeconomic stabilization, free market economics, and a free trade environment. However, the most critical aspect of these programs was that they provided conditional loans and other forms of assistance. This was a way for IFIs to impose conditions on poor countries.
Among the key issues facing Africa is malnutrition. This is a public health problem that affects millions of people in Africa. It is estimated that more than a third of the population in Africa is undernourished.
Several factors contribute to the high rates of malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. These include the lack of educational opportunities and poor nutrition practices. The majority of the affected children are under five years old.
The incidence of malnutrition is also linked to high rates of mortality. One hundred sixty-five million children in sub-Saharan Africa are stunted due to chronic malnutrition.
The agricultural output should be improved to reduce the risk of malnutrition. Modern food production can reduce spoilage of agricultural products and increase the number of people willing to farm. In addition, the government can provide subsidized fertilizers to farmers. Farmers should be educated about environmental issues.
Malnutrition has been a public health problem in sub-Saharan Africa for many years. However, the fight against malnutrition has had limited results in recent years.
In addition to the lack of adequate nutrition, poverty contributes to the high malnutrition rate. This has resulted in a vicious cycle of malnutrition and poverty. Many factors can lead to malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa, including overpopulation, low levels of education, poor health and hygiene, environmental factors, and poverty.
The most recent data suggests that the number of people suffering from food insecurity in Africa is increasing. Over 282 million people are currently facing hunger in Africa. However, the number is expected to grow shortly. In 2020, one in five people will likely experience hunger.
In the Sahelian belt, droughts place added strain on vulnerable families. Agricultural output and agricultural practices need to be improved to reduce the incidence of malnutrition.
While many countries have made tremendous progress in fighting malnutrition, economic woes triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic are reversing the progress. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40 to 50% of people live below the poverty line. Many people depend on farming for their livelihoods.
The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization released a study on food security. The report said that in 2013, nearly 30% of the population in the developing world was malnourished.