GAIN Briefing Paper Series 9 - Africa Food Systems

Leaders worldwide are increasingly focused on food systems, and how they influence health and nutrition, livelihoods, equity, the economy, and the environment. African leaders are at the forefront of this evolution, shifting gears from a sectoral focus on agriculture to grapple with food systems as a whole.

To help guide food systems transformation towards a more equitable, sustainable, and resilient future, a range of indicators need to be tracked. Existing African initiatives to track progress and identify food system opportunities and challenges offer valuable lessons to all regions of the world. However, these can be further enhanced through a more holistic perspective, covering supply chains, food environments, and nutrition and environmental outcomes. In advance of the 2022 AGRF Summit, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and AGRA produced a report to provide African leaders with cutting-edge data tools to do just this. 

This briefing paper summarises the main results of that effort. The work draws on the monitoring functions of the Food Systems Dashboard, the most comprehensive effort to gather, screen, organise, and link a large set of existing food system indicators for all countries, including the 55 in Africa. Food Systems Dashboard data are used to examine African food systems and take stock of continental patterns and variations across regions, exploring food systems domains that show progress as well as trends that may require more attention and investment from African leaders. The paper concludes with implications for taking action, strengthening monitoring systems, and bolstering accountability.