Africa witnessed over 90 conflicts in 2018 alone, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has decried.
The United Nations’ body while insisting that investing in resilience and food security is key to peace, lamented that conflicts in ten African countries have left millions of people in need of urgent food assistance and subsequently made hundreds of thousands to quickly flee their homes and involuntarily abandon their livelihoods.
A message from the Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Abebe Haile-Gabriel, sent to our correspondent e-mail, lamented that hunger is on the rise in Africa.
He said: “In a region beset with conflict, the uptick of numbers paint a grim foreboding. Hunger is on the rise again in Africa, reversing the gains and derailing the efforts made in the last few years.
“Recent years brought recurrent conflicts in the region. In 2018 alone, there were over 90 conflicts in Africa, a quarter of such occurrences globally. Conflicts in ten African countries left millions of people in need of urgent food assistance and hundreds of thousands to quickly flee their homes and involuntarily abandon their livelihoods.
“Most of these livelihoods are dependent on agriculture and the emergence of conflict has life-changing and serious implications. For people who rely on agriculture, conflicts destroy food systems, decimate crops and livestock resources, and cause loss of assets and incomes. These trigger food insecurity, and malnutrition and hunger.”
He added that: “People living in countries affected by conflict are more likely to be food insecure and malnourished. For some African countries, the prevalence of undernourishment is about two and a half times higher in countries affected by a protracted crisis than in other development contexts.
“Nutrition outcomes are also worse in conflict situations, where almost 122 million, or 75 percent of stunted children are under the age of five.”
He lamented that: “Additionally, conflicts harm national economies. Agriculture in Africa contributes a sizeable proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employs more than half of the total labor force, and provides livelihood incomes for smallholder farmers, who usually constitute approximately 80 percent of the total population.”
He said: “When conflicts occur, agricultural activities are disrupted, resulting in massive youth unemployment, displacement, strife and discord.
Conflicts trigger a domino effect. They lead to food insecurity and malnutrition, which are also conflict multipliers, especially in fragile states. The relentless cycle goes unchecked if collective action is not in place.”
He said: “The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for a transformative approach pointing to an improved collaboration on conflict prevention and resolution. The African Union Agenda 2063 likewise prioritizes peace and security to reposition Africa on a sustainable route of transformation and development.
“The commitment of the African leadership to change course has been confirmed in the 2014 Malabo Declaration on “Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods” in the framework of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) agenda. The goal to ending hunger in Africa by 2025 stands out among the prominent commitments of the Malabo Declaration, stressing the notion that peace and stability are the prime preconditions to achieve this goal.”
He said that: “It is in this context that the African Union has selected the theme of the year 2020 to be “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development”. As a flagship project of the Agenda 2063, this initiative would have a greater impact in promoting peace and stability in Africa, with the goal of ending all wars and civil conflicts, thereby achieving concrete development goals, including the eradication of hunger.”