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Food insecurity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in four African countries


  • Rudin-Rush, Lorin
  • Michler, Jeffrey D.
  • Josephson, Anna
  • Bloem, Jeffrey R.


We document trends in food security up to one full year after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in four African countries. Using household-level data collected by the World Bank, we highlight differences over time amid the pandemic, between rural and urban areas, and between female-headed and male-headed households within Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Nigeria. We first observe a sharp increase in food insecurity during the early months of the pandemic with a subsequent gradual decline. Next, we find that food insecurity has increased more in rural areas than in urban areas relative to pre-pandemic data within each of these countries. Finally, we do not find a systematic difference in changes in food insecurity between female-headed and male-headed households. These trends complement previous microeconomic analysis studying short-term changes in food security associated with the pandemic and existing macroeconomic projections.

Suggested Citation

  • Rudin-Rush, Lorin & Michler, Jeffrey D. & Josephson, Anna & Bloem, Jeffrey R., 2022. "Food insecurity during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic in four African countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:111:y:2022:i:c:s0306919222000823
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2022.102306

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guo, Jianxin & Jin, Songqing & Zhao, Jichun & Wang, Hongbiao & Zhao, Fang, 2022. "Has COVID-19 accelerated the E-commerce of agricultural products? Evidence from sales data of E-stores in China," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 112(C).
    2. Martin Paul Jr. Tabe-Ojong & Emmanuel Nshakira-Rukundo & Bisrat Haile Gebrekidan, 2023. "COVID-19 and food insecurity in Africa: A review of the emerging empirical evidence," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 50(3), pages 853-878.

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    More about this item


    COVID-19 pandemic; Food security; Markets; Gender; Sub-Saharan Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F6 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy; Animal Welfare Policy


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