Rwanda: New Global Hunger Index report shows progress in Sub-Saharan Africa

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) -  Over the last two decades at least six African countries have registered tremendous improvements in addressing child underweight, described as the main indicator of hunger and under-nutrition, despite persistent food insecurity in several parts across the continent, according to a new Global Hunger Index (GHI) report for 2014.

The report, released Monday, named Angola, Chad, Ghana, Malawi, Niger and Rwanda as the countries which registered tremendous improvement.

The report that was prepared by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in collaboration with Concern Worldwide, an international NGO,  also indicated that tragedy of hunger still persists for 805 million hungry people today at the global level.

It said that the highest hunger levels are in Africa south of the Sahara, with levels of hunger being “extremely alarming” in 16 countries worldwide, while two African countries -- Burundi and Eritrea were both classified as "extremely alarming".

Moreover, new findings on global hunger highlights negative trends for some sub-Saharan Africa countries towards achieving food security, whereby poor diet, disease, impaired absorption, and increased micronutrient needs during certain life stages, such as pregnancy, lactation, and infancy, have been among causes of this phenomenon also described as 'hidden hunger'

In order to eliminate hidden hunger,  the report recommended that governments must demonstrate political commitment by making fighting it a priority.

"Governments and multilateral institutions need to invest in and develop human and financial resources, increase coordination, and ensure transparent monitoring and evaluation to build capacity on nutrition," the report suggested.

While comparing with the rating in 1990 at the global level, the 2014 GHI score is 28 percent lower in Africa south of the Sahara, 41 percent lower in South Asia, and 40 percent lower in the Near East and North Africa.

"Africa south of the Sahara has the highest regional GHI score, closely followed by South Asia", the report said while stressing that the situation in the Sahel, however, remains precarious.

This is because the rising frequency and intensity of climate shocks has continued to erode the coping capacity of vulnerable households thus contributing to the deterioration of resilience in the region.

An exodus of people from this region, Central African Republic and Darfur, put more pressure on Chad, Cameroon, and Mali to absorb refugees. Displaced populations and their host communities face a high risk of food insecurity, malnutrition and epidemics, according to the report.

However, it noted that substantial humanitarian assistance for the Sahel region—including food and nutrition security interventions, protection from violence, measures to boost households’ and communities’ coping capacity, and support for internally displaced people and refugees—will continue to be necessary.

In the mean time, the report indicated that the good news in this year’s GHI is that the number of people going hungry has steadily decreased in most developing countries.

IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan said: "There is much more to be done to address hunger—including hidden hunger—to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable.

"Hidden hunger affects not only the well-being of the individual. It also carries economic costs, cutting gross domestic product in many developing countries."

While stressing the need for preventing and treating hidden hunger requires action at all levels, the new report  recommended that the global community must ensure that the post-2015 framework includes a universal goal to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and clear mechanisms to ensure accountability.

-0- PANA TWA/AR 13Oct2014

13 october 2014 17:18:28




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