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Rising food prices in Sub-Saharan Africa : poverty impact and policy responses

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  • Wodon, Quentin
  • Zaman, Hassan

Abstract

The increase in food prices represents a major crisis for the world's poor. This paper aims to review the evidence on the potential impact of higher food prices on poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, and examines the extent to which policy responses will benefit the poor. The paper shows that rising food prices are likely to lead to higher poverty in sub-Saharan Africa as the negative impact on net poor consumers outweighs the benefits to poor producers. A recent survey shows that the most common policy response in sub-Saharan African countries is reducing taxes on food while outside the region price controls or targeted consumer subsidies are the most popular measure. Sub-Saharan African countries also have a higher prevalence of food-based safety net programs which are being scaled up to respond to rising prices. The review suggests that the benefits from reducing import tariffs on staples may accrue largely to the non-poor. Social protection programs show more promise, but geographic targeting is likely to be crucial in ensuring that benefits reach the neediest. The paper also argues that anti-poverty interventions ought to retain their focus on rural areas where poverty remains highest even after taking into account the adverse impact on the urban poor due to the rise in food prices.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4738.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4738

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Keywords: Food&Beverage Industry; Rural Poverty Reduction; Safety Nets and Transfers; Population Policies;

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References

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dethier, Jean-Jacques & Effenberger, Alexandra, 2011. "Agriculture and development : a brief review of the literature," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5553, The World Bank.
  2. Delphine Boutin, 2011. "D’une crise à l’autre : Mesurer l’impact des prix alimentaires sur la pauvreté," Larefi Working Papers 1106, Larefi, Université Bordeaux 4.
  3. Pedro Conceição & Sebastian Levine & Zuzana Brixiova, 2011. "The Food Price Spikes of 2008/09 and 2010/11: Impacts and Policies in African Countries," Working Papers 2011-003, United Nations Development Programme, Regional Bureau for Africa (UNDP/RBA).
  4. Iqbal, Muhammad & Amjad, Rashid, 2010. "Food security in South Asia: strategies and programmes for regional collaboration," MPRA Paper 38077, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. repec:laf:wpaper:201106 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Seck, Papa A. & Tollens, Eric & Wopereis, Marco C.S. & Diagne, Aliou & Bamba, Ibrahim, 2010. "Rising trends and variability of rice prices: Threats and opportunities for sub-Saharan Africa," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 403-411, October.
  7. Joseph, George & Wodon, Quentin, 2008. "Assessing the potential impact on poverty of rising cereals prices : the case of Mali," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4744, The World Bank.
  8. Abbott, Philip C. & Hurt, Christopher & Tyner, Wallace E., 2011. "What’s Driving Food Prices in 2011?," Issue Reports 112927, Farm Foundation.
  9. Gelaw, Fekadu & Sileshi, Million, 2013. "Impact of Grain Price Hikes on Poverty in Rural Ethiopia," African Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, African Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 8(2), August.
  10. Delphine Boutin, 2011. "D'une crise à l'autre : mesurer l'impact des prix alimentaires sur la pauvreté," Working Papers hal-00637608, HAL.
  11. Wodon, Quentin & Tsimpo, Clarence & Coulombe, Harold, 2008. "Assessing the potential impact on poverty of rising cereals prices : the case of Ghana," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4740, The World Bank.
  12. Minot, Nicholas & Dewina, Reno, 2013. "Impact of food price changes on household welfare in Ghana:," IFPRI discussion papers 1245, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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