Africa faces food crisis, UN Security Council told

Friday, July 1, 2005

The head of the World Food Programme, James Morris, has told the United Nations Security Council that Africa is facing a food crisis, with one in three people there malnourished.

Zimbabwe is one country that Morris is particularly concerned about at the moment.

“It does not matter whether that instability is caused by civil conflict, drought, AIDS, poor governance or any combination of those factors-hunger almost always comes with it,” said Morris.

“The impact of rural-urban migration on employment in Africa has been precisely the opposite of Western Europe and the United States - it has led to higher rather than lower rates of unemployment and social instability.

“At a certain point the capacities of local governments are stretched to the limit and social demands are not met, especially among competing ethnic groups perhaps not accustomed to sharing the same political space.”

In addition to Zimbabwe, 1.6 million in Malawi, 1.2 million in Zambia, 900,000 in Mozambique, 245,000 in Lesotho, 230,000 in Swaziland, and 60,000 in Namibia all need emergency food aid.

According to Morris, the World Food Programme has been told by the Zimbabwe government that they will feed the people, which goes against the policies of the WFP.

Morris highlighted the effects hunger can have — destabilizing countries and threatening peace and security. Food shortages are driving people into urban areas, where they are confronted by high unemployment and social instability.