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The Geographic Basis of Food Insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa

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One out of every three people lacks access to sufficient nourishment in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the greatest food insecurity in the world today. Low agricultural productivity and expansionary demographic trends will necessitate greater reliance on imports if the food needs of the region are to be met in the future. However, sub-Saharan Africa is distant from major food export markets, and many of its countries are landlocked. In my research, I quantify the influence of the region?s transport-prohibitive characteristics on food security. By constructing regression models from agricultural trade data, I demonstrate that geographically isolated countries face substantially higher grain import prices, and these higher prices can raise the prevalence of hunger. I find that 300 kilometers between the port of disembarkation and the major population agglomeration in the importing country explains a one percentage point increase in the undernourished population. This result highlights the needs for infrastructure investment and low trade barriers to minimize the cost of remoteness and promote the eradication of hunger in the region.

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2007-06-27T14:02:46Z

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food security; undernourishment; import price; geography; transportation

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Government Document

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dissertation or thesis

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