Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jacqueline Braveboy- Wagner


food security, Africa, Development


Despite the growing global acceptance of an individual’s right to adequate food and nutrition, and the state’s obligation to ensure that all its citizens are free from hunger, 805 million or one in nine people around the world today are still chronically malnourished; the majority live in developing countries. African states have had a particular problem with food insecurity. Food security on the continent has worsened since the 1970s and by the end of the century, the population in Africa is

expected to be three times its current level. Hence, food insecurity in Africa will be much more severe than in other parts of the world. Traditionally, there have been three ways in which a country can achieve food security at the national level: domestic production, commercial food imports and food aid. But many developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa heavily rely on food imports to supply the growing demand for food. This study aims to test whether being dependent on imported food constitutes a hindrance to food security and therefore to sustainable development by assessing the agricultural policy of the two countries (Nigeria and Senegal) and analyzing the impact of food import dependency on poverty, which is seen as a measure of sustainable development. After

discussing the problem of food security in Africa in detail, I perform several correlation analyses between the level of food imports and the level of poverty. I found that while in Senegal, there was a significant non-lagged relationship, suggesting that food is being imported to address poverty, there were no significant correlations for Nigeria or for a lagged relationship in either country. I therefore conclude that food imports do not cause poverty but that they also do not contribute to alleviating it. Indeed, other factors such as the cost of imported food must be examined to generate a complete picture of the way in which food imports affect development.



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