Persistent hunger: Perspectives on vulnerability, famine, and food security in sub-Saharan Africa

Mamadou Baro, Tara F. Deubel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

124 Scopus citations


This review examines the persistence of chronic hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa in the twenty-first century and reviews dominant famine theories, concepts of vulnerability, and household livelihood security and responses to recent food crises in the region. The authors argue that famine occurrences are linked to historical and contemporary socioeconomic processes that have increased over time the vulnerability of African households to hunger and reduced their resilience to environmental and economic shocks, political conflict, and the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS. Approaches to famine need to move away from the "emergency relief" framework to better address the underlying conditions that make food shortages endemic. Future food security for Africa requires an integrated long-term response to household vulnerability on the part of African governments, civil society, and international partners by incorporating new technologies, local expertise, and active involvement of African communities living with the realities of recurrent famine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnnual Review of Anthropology
EditorsWilliam Durham, Jane Hill
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 2006

Publication series

NameAnnual Review of Anthropology
ISSN (Print)0084-6570


  • Conflicts
  • Malnutrition
  • Natural disasters
  • Political inequalities
  • Poverty
  • Sahel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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