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Famine in Africa: Causes, responses, and prevention


  • von Braun, Joachim
  • Teklu, Tesfaye
  • Webb, Patrick


Though famine has affected many parts of the world in the twentieth century, the conditions that produce famine—extreme poverty, armed conflict, economic and political turmoil, and climate shocks—are now most prevalent in Africa. Researchers differ on how to address this problem effectively, but their arguments are often not informed by empirical analysis from a famine context. Broadening current theories and models of development for conquering famine, Famine in Africa grounds its findings in long-term empirical research, especially on the impact of famine on households and markets. The authors present the results of field work and other research from numerous parts of Africa, with a particular focus on Botswana, Ethiopia, Niger, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe. With these data, the authors explain the factors that cause famines and assess efforts to mitigate and prevent them. Famine in Africa is an important resource for international development specialists, students, and policymakers.

Suggested Citation

  • von Braun, Joachim & Teklu, Tesfaye & Webb, Patrick (ed.), 1999. "Famine in Africa: Causes, responses, and prevention," IFPRI books, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), number 0-8018-6121-7.
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprib:0801861217

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Zeller, Manfred & Schrieder, Gertrud & von Braun, Joachim & Heidhues, Franz, 1997. "Rural finance for food security for the poor," Food policy reviews 4, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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    Cited by:

    1. Liangzhi You & Michael Johnson, 2010. "Exploring strategic priorities for regional agricultural R&D investments in East and Central Africa," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 41(2), pages 177-190, March.
    2. Cormac Ó Gráda, 2007. "Making Famine History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 5-38, March.
    3. Patrick Webb & Andrew Thorne-Lyman, 2005. "Micronutrients in Emergencies," Working Papers in Food Policy and Nutrition 32, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy.
    4. Webb, Patrick & Thorne-Lyman, Andrew, 2006. "Entitlement Failure from a Food Quality Perspective: The Life and Death Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Humanitarian Crises," WIDER Working Paper Series 140, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Abdulai, Awudu & Barrett, Christopher B. & Hoddinott, John, 2005. "Does food aid Really have disincentive effects? New evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(10), pages 1689-1704, October.
    6. Miss Fatima Khatun & Mohammed Ziaul Haider, 2016. "Impact of Technology Adoption on Agricultural Productivity," Journal of Agriculture and Crops, Academic Research Publishing Group, vol. 2(9), pages 87-93, 09-2016.

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    Food supply; Famine; Agricultural policies ; Africa;


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