News / Economy

Study Finds Hungriest Countries Among Fastest-Growing

WASHINGTON — Some of the world’s hungriest countries are also the among the fastest-growing, according to a new measure of global food security.

Several sub-Saharan African countries at the bottom of the new Global Food Security Index, including Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Niger, are expected to be among the most rapidly expanding economies in the next two years.

“That was a finding that was a bit unexpected,” says Leo Abruzzese, global forecasting director for the research company the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which created the index. EIU is the research branch of the British company that publishes the prestigious news magazine The Economist.

Rankings

The index combines 25 indicators of food affordability, availability, quality and safety to produce rankings for 105 countries.

Not surprisingly, industrialized countries including the United States, France, and Germany topped the index, while sub-Saharan Africa made up much of the bottom.

But Abruzzese says growth in several sub-Saharan African countries will provide them with an opportunity as rising incomes bring more tax revenue for governments.

“And one would assume or hope that food security would be an area that governments in poor countries would want to devote some attention to,” he says.

"What gets measured gets done"

U.S. chemical and agricultural giant Dupont commissioned EIU to develop the new index to measure food security country by country.

“When we approach a problem, we have a mantra. It says, ‘What gets measured gets done,’” says Dupont Chief Executive Officer Ellen Kullman.

Countries’ rankings will be adjusted quarterly to account for fluctuations in food prices, and annually for longer-term measures such as spending on agriculture research, transportation infrastructure and agricultural import tariffs.

U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah notes that those kinds of government policy issues are major factors holding back many hungry countries’ farmers.

“This index and highlighting the policy conditions that exist around these farmers I think will go a long way in helping to bring visibility to what can be done to solve the problem,” he says.

"Hard to do"

But Cornell University economist Chris Barrett is cautious about the value of the new index. He says other attempts to measure food security and how it affects people are flawed.

“That’s just the nature of the beast. This is really hard stuff to do,” he says. “We’ve just not figured out yet how to do it.”

But Barrett applauds the effort. And, he says, it shows that people are taking the issue of food security more seriously.

You May Like

Analysis: China Raises Hong Kong Rhetoric to Tiananmen Level

A front-page commentary in The People’s Daily called the current demonstrations 'chaos,' the same word Party officials used 25 years ago to describe the Tiananmen Square protests More

US Airstrikes Anger Syrian Civilians Fleeing Their Homes

Pentagon officials say they have seen no credible evidence of civilian deaths caused by US airstrikes against Islamic State militants More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7866
JPY
USD
109.25
GBP
USD
0.6139
CAD
USD
1.1120
INR
USD
61.428

Rates may not be current.