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ICTSD - Enhancing Food Security in Africa Through Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement

By Ahmad Mukhtar, published on ICTSD.

Trade in agriculture is remarkably low in most African economies compared to the sector’s contribution to their GDP. The less-developed-yet-complex agricultural supply chains in the region are also challenged by intricate and burdensome import and export procedures. This exacerbates food insecurity in Africa. By ensuring simple and efficient trade in agriculture, the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) may provide a solution for enhanced food security on the continent.

As per the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) definition, “food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food which meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.” This could be expressed through the four pillars of food security: (1) availability, (2) access, (3) utilisation, and (4) stability.

Food Security is a serious challenge in many African countries. According to the FAO-IFAD-WFP State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 report, 232 million of Africans were still undernourished during the 2014-16 period, which corresponds to 20 percent of the continent’s population, compared to the 10.9 percent global average and 12.9 average in developing countries.

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