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The Impact of Population Growth and Climate Change on Food Security in Africa; Looking Ahead to 2050

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C. Hall, T. P. Dawson, J. I. Macdiarmid, R. B. Matthews, P. Smith


King's Authors


Providing nutritious and environmentally sustainable food to all people at all times is one of the greatest challenges currently facing society. This problem is particularly acute in Africa where an estimated one in four people still lack adequate food to sustain an active and healthy life. In this study, we consider the potential impact of future population growth and climate change on food security in Africa, looking ahead to 2050. A modelling framework termed FEEDME (Food Estimation and Export for Diet and Malnutrition Evaluation) was used which was characterized to model the impacts of future climate changes (utilizing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios projections) and projected population growth on food availability and subsequent undernourishment prevalence in 44 African countries. Our results indicate that projected rapid population growth will be the leading cause of food insecurity and widespread undernourishment across Africa. Very little to no difference in undernourishment projections were found when we examined future scenarios with and without the effects of climate change, suggesting population growth is the dominant driver of change. Various adaptation options are discussed, such as closing the yield gap via sustainable intensification and increasing imports through trade and aid agreements. These strategies are likely to be critical in preventing catastrophic future food insecurity.

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