Why does famine persist in Africa?
- Stephen DevereuxAffiliated withInstitute of Development Studies, University of Sussex Email author
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Famines were apparently eradicated from Asia and Europe during the twentieth century, but not from Africa, where three countries—Ethiopia, Malawi and Niger—have suffered mass mortality food crises since 2000. This paper locates the persistence of famine in Africa in simultaneous or sequential failures of food supply, demand for food, and humanitarian responses. Each of the three recent crises was triggered by a moderate decline in crop and/or livestock production, exacerbated by ‘exchange entitlement failures’—food price spikes and asset price collapses. The critical analytical question, however, is not why these famines happened, but why they were not prevented. Information failure is rejected as an explanatory factor in favour of ineffective and inappropriate interventions, adverse relations between governments and donor agencies at critical moments, and unaccountability for famine prevention in low-income countries with weak democracies and interventionist development partners.
KeywordsFamine Food security Social protection Vulnerability Africa Ethiopia Malawi Niger
- Why does famine persist in Africa?
- Online Date
- January 2009
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Food security
- Social protection
- Industry Sectors
- Stephen Devereux (1)
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9RE, UK