The Reality of COVID-19 Burden on Food Security in the Horn and Eastern Africa

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on already fragile livelihoods and unstable economies in the Horn and East Africa. Some of these impacts may include reduced agricultural productivity, weak supply chains, increased cross border trade tensions, limited employment prospects and rising political and regulatory uncertainty.

Before the pandemic hit, 33.1 million people in the eastern and central Africa region were severely food insecure (IPC phase 3 or worse) and required food assistance. Of these, 16.95 million are from four of the eight IGAD member countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan). In recent months, flooding and displacement have pushed thousands into food insecurity. In addition, a predicted second generation of desert locust infestation poses a large-scale threat to food security in the greater Horn of Africa.

An already bleak food security picture will be compounded as the the COVID-19 pandemic could destroy livelihoods, disrupt supply chains, strain national budgets, and restrict trade. The UN predicts that the number of severely insecure in the world could double in the next year.