March 7, 2024

High Food Prices in Africa: Causes, Consequences and Agenda for Action

The high food prices across Africa are the outcomes of broken food markets which fail to address the impacts of climate change and deliver increasingly unhealthy results for households and communities. Countries face a ‘double burden of malnutrition’, that is, high levels of obesity alongside stunting and wasting (Reardon et al., 2021). Food is expensive – prices in African cities have generally been much higher than in other developing regions of the world (Allen, 2017; Nakamura et al., 2016).

Through a focus on key staple foods in East and Southern Africa (ESA), we explain why prices have spiked so high in cities such as Nairobi and why this is the result of markets which are not working well for farmers across the region. We propose an agenda for action for food security to change the trajectory (Figure 1). This must address the interconnected and concentrated agri-food value chains and empower groups with limited resources through inclusive and fair processes to ensure healthy markets.

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