Many African nations are losing the fight against hunger. Levels of hunger are rising faster than governments can handle, but one country is setting an example of how nations should respond to this persistent struggle. Gabon, an African nation off the west coast of Africa, is taking steps to combat the threat of hunger around the region. Starvation is a massive problem in Africa and Gabon is no exception. Hunger proliferates throughout the African nation, but Gabon, with the help of international organizations, is making big strides that have helped thousands of Gabonese people. Here are five key points to know about hunger in Gabon.
5 Key Points to Know About Hunger in Gabon
- The proportion of undernourished people in Gabon is rising again. According to the 2019 Global Hunger Index report, Gabon’s proportion of undernourished people has been steadily decreasing every year since 2008. However, hunger levels decreased every year between 2008 and 2014 but have since started to rise.
- Children and women are at the greatest risk. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that 18% of children under 5 years old suffered from chronic malnutrition. Furthermore, a 2016 report found that close to 61% of women in Gabon were anemic. Improved access to food can help prevent starvation, malnutrition and sickness.
- GHI lists Gabon’s level of hunger as ‘moderate.’ Gabon’s GHI Score in 2000 was 20.8 indicating that the country’s level of hunger ‘serious.’ Many Gabonese people continue to suffer from malnutrition, but the Gabonese parliament had undergone great efforts to alleviate the problem. Gabon has adopted policy frameworks, such as the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP), which outlines a plan for improved access to water and food security. In 20 years, Gabon has dropped its score to 18.2, lowering the nation’s level of hunger to ‘moderate.’ Today, Gabon continues to make progress in its fight to end hunger throughout the nation.
- Gabon’s government has taken measures to fight the hunger epidemic. In 2019, the Gabonese government founded the Gabonese Parliamentary Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (APGSAN). The organization, established in association with the FAO Subregional Office for Central Africa and the United Nations, is committed to fighting hunger and malnutrition throughout the nation. APGSAN will work with other parliamentary coalitions to help provide sustainable food to the 42.7 million people who are starving in Central Africa. APGSAN’s formation proves that nations can allocate money, design legislation and form coalitions to combat pressing issues.
- From 2000 to 2019, the prevalence of growth stunting in children dropped from 25.9% to 20.2%. Growth stunting in children has seen a steady decline, but since 2010, the number of children suffering from stunted growth has in fact increased from 17% to 20.2%. In response, NGOs like ScalingUpNutrition (SUN) have created detailed action plans that illustrate hunger priorities the Gabonese government must address, such as resource mobilization for nutrition and budget allocations.
Like many other African nations, the threat of malnutrition has not spared Gabon. However, increased efforts on the part of Gabonese parliament and international bodies have proven effective in the fight against rising levels of hunger. Gabon is not 100% free from the hunger plague, but despite this harsh reality, the nation is getting better. Hunger levels in Gabon are decreasing faster than most countries in the same region. Continued commitment by the Gabonese government and international organizations to fight hunger will be the key to end it once and for all.
– Pedro Rodriguez