News / Africa

Hunger Costs Poor Nations $450 Billion Annually

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

A new report says hunger could cost poor nations US$450 billion a year.  The ActionAid report – Who’s Really Fighting Hunger? – gives a scorecard of how nations are faring in trying to reach the first Millennium Development Goal – cutting chronic hunger in half by 2015.

ActionAid says 20 of 28 poor nations are at risk of not reaching that goal by the target date.  The report coincides with the latest U.N. figures, which say there are 925 million chronically hungry people worldwide.  That’s down from around one billion people last year.  But U.N. agencies say despite the improvement, food security remains fragile and more investment in agriculture is needed.

Alex Wijeratna of ActionAid’s Hunger Campaign reacts to the figures: “Obviously, we totally want hunger to come down in the world, but again, 925 million sounds and is an awful, awful lot of hungry people in the world.  Of course it’s great that it’s come down from a billion, but we need much bigger and quicker progress.”

The new report says hunger costs poor nations hundreds of billions of dollars annually, adding it’s “more than 10 times the amount needed to halve hunger by 2015.”

The cost of poverty

“We’ve extrapolated from U.N. estimates of the opportunity costs – the costs of young people and children going hungry.  What are the lifetime costs of that in terms of lost productivity, lost lifetime earnings, extra costs from repeating grades at school because you’re hungry, the health associated costs…and this is the number we’ve come up with,” says Wijeratna.

He calls the $450 billion dollar figure a conservative estimate.

“It would be cheaper to tackle hunger than to let it get as bad as it has,” he says.

The good, the bad, the hungry

The Who’s Really Fighting Hunger? report scorecard says Brazil, China, Ghana, Malawi and Vietnam all get top grades for tackling hunger.

“The reason is,” Wijeratna says, “they have made tackling hunger a big political priority.  It’s about political will.  Brazil, in particular, has a big campaign headed by the president of Brazil…and he made fighting hunger a priority.”

Brazil invested heavily in smallholder farms, improved social protection programs for the poor and hungry and provided cheap credit to farmers.  “The results have been dramatic,” says Wijeratna.

The worst grades go to the DRC, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Pakistan.

“I think there are specific issues for those specific countries.  Obviously, the Congo is in a conflict situation.  That means…about 76 percent of the population there are suffering from hunger.  That is very specific to that environment,” he says.

Pakistan is reeling from massive flooding.  “That is really going to impact on food security there.  And it’s very, very low.  Our report says one in two in Pakistan now are going hungry,” he says.

The United Nations will hold a summit next week on the Millennium Development Goals.  ActionAid is calling on nations to increase investment in agriculture and smallholder farming both at the national and international levels.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More