The Dynamics of Food Supply and Undernourishment in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Degye Goshu Haramaya University
  • Mengistu Ketema Haramaya University


Food insecurity and malnutrition is the most fundamental challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This paper examines the dynamics of food supply in SSA for a panel of 42 countries over the period 1994-2009. Ordinal measures of national food supply status of SSA countries are generated from daily calorie supply per capita. The dynamics of food supply status, transition rates, and the associated forces underpinning this dynamic process are analyzed and stylized by parametric and non-parametric measures. Economic and socio-demographic factors and unobserved regional heterogeneities determining the dynamics of food supply are identified by random-effects ordered probit model. The transition rates suggested that, each year, 54 percent of the countries with very low food supply remained in the same food insecurity situation for five years while only 15 percent with low food supply shifted up to medium food supply level. However, the vast majority of the countries (81%) with low food supply situation remained in the same food supply status and the rest 5 percent rather faced a downturn in food supply. In conclusion, the econometric model outputs confirm that the food supply of SSA countries is improved by agricultural production and industrial GDP, but adversely affected by military expenditure, price inflation, proportion of rural population, age dependency ratio, and unobserved regional heterogeneities.

Keywords: Calorie supply per capita; Undernourishment; Random-Effects Ordered Probit; SSA


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