The Link Between Food Security and Political Unrest

A Somali man tends to his crops that have suffered from drought

The former UN Secretary General has announced that food shortage was one of the triggers of the protests leading to the Arab Spring. He was speaking at the African Green Revolution Forum held during September 26-28, 2012 in Tanzania, at which leaders developed concrete plans for the development of African agriculture to promote food security.  At the forum, leaders discussed the importance of food security as a top priority for governments in order to preserve order and to stabilize the African economy. Since most African farmland is underutilized, if African governments can focus on agriculture, they could feed a greater number of people, create opportunities for employment, and create global food security. But it is important to understand that it is not only food shortages that lead to uprisings; political unrest also plays a large role.

Political stability and economic growth go hand-in-hand, and it is for this reason that members of the East African Community are using this discussion as an opportunity to stress further integration between its members. They see political environments as an existing trade barrier and believe that it would be much easier to attract investment if there was a common currency between the nations if the East African Community. They believe that people need to be able to invest without problems and that further integration would create stronger political trust between nations. By linking them economically, states would have greater interest in stabilizing the political environments in their partner countries. In addition to their discussions around shared currency and linkages between East African Community members, many also acknowledged that democracy must work in Africa because if it does not, the cycle of economic hardship and political instability will only continue.

For more information visit http://allafrica.com/stories/201209280590.html

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