NAIROBI — Sub-Saharan African nations will not be able to sustain their accelerated economic growth unless they eliminate hunger, the UN said in a report Tuesday.
Many sub-Saharan economies are growing fast but the growth rates have not translated into significant hunger reduction, said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth, now around 4 percent, is accelerating faster than the rest of the world excluding China and India, according to UNDP statistics.
According to the agency’s African Development Report, nearly 218 million people on the continent are undernourished and 55 million children are malnourished, a figure that is projected to rise. The report says food security can be achieved by several means, including boosting agricultural productivity and creating resilience against natural disasters.
Tegegnework Gettu, an assistant secretary-general and regional director for the UNDP bureau in Africa, said chronic food security in sub-Saharan Africa stems from decades of poor governance.
"Regimes bent on amassing wealth absorbed the region’s resources into patrimonial power structures," he said. "Self-serving elite quick to profit from graft and patronage have stood between the leaders and the people, monopolized state revenues and emptied the countryside, but they have provided neither employment nor industry."
He said Africa has the knowledge, the technology and the means to end hunger and food insecurity but lacks the political will and dedication.
"The UK estimates that between 50,000 and 100,000 people died in last year’s famine in Somalia and drought in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Djibouti.
More than 15 million people are currently at risk of hunger in the zone. — AP