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West African Papers

The West African Papers series explores African socio-economic, political and security dynamics from a regional and multidisciplinary perspective. It seeks to stimulate discussion and gather information to better anticipate the changes that will shape future policies. The series is designed for a wide audience of specialists, development practitioners, decision makers and the informed public. Papers are available in English and/or French, and summaries are available in both languages. Initiated by the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) to highlight and promote West African issues, the work presented is prepared by its Secretariat, Members and partners, other OECD departments, related international organisations, associated experts and researchers.

English French

Disentangling urban and rural food security in West Africa

Strategies to fight hunger and early warning systems often focus on identifying food crises rather than longer-term trends, and concentrate on rural areas. Data on the food and nutrition security situation of West Africa’s growing urban population is scarce and fragmented. Using geo-referenced information available in the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS), this report estimates the total number and prevalence of under-nutrition and over-nutrition in West Africa for both urban and rural areas. The analysis reveals that almost 110 million people in West Africa are not receiving the correct nutrition for their needs. Over 58 million people in the region are underweight, 22 million of which live in cities. Another 52 million are either overweight or obese, the large majority of whom are adult urban dwellers. This situation reveals the severity of the “double burden” of under- and over-nutrition. It also calls for greater efforts to identify appropriate metrics to monitor food and nutrition security in urban areas.

English French

Keywords: Food security, Nutrition, Urban households, obesity, Early warning systems
JEL: I32: Health, Education, and Welfare / Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty / Measurement and Analysis of Poverty; R28: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / Household Analysis / Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Government Policy; Q18: Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics / Agriculture / Agricultural Policy; Food Policy
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