Sowing Seeds of Change: Examining Africa’s Food Crisis

Jul 17, 2008


Karol Boudreaux
Senior Research Fellow
Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Stories of rising food prices are dominating the news. With increased input prices, poor weather and rapidly increasing world demand, it has been estimated that prices increased 40% in 2007 alone. While this inflation may cause minimal discomfort in the United States, it is causing dire hardship in Africa and other developing nations. However, food crisis is not new in Africa. The continent has struggled to feed itself for decades under inadequate farming conditions, and with many Africans growing just enough food to feed their families.

What lessons have been learned over this frustratingly long history, and how might these lessons help to manage the current international crises? Experts site several potential solutions that could help to reverse Africa's agricultural misfortunes, such as increasing investment and developmental support in property rights, financial credit, biotechnology and basic infrastructure, to name just a few.

In order to sort through the difficult challenges that face Africa and similar developing nations, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University is pleased to host a lecture by Mercatus Senior Research Fellow, and lead researcher for the center’s Enterprise Africa! program, Karol Boudreaux. Ms. Boudreaux, who recently returned from a field study in South Africa on related issues, will share her latest research to address the following questions:

  • What are the major contributing factors to the global food crises in the developing world?
  • What long and short term policy proposals can policy makers adopt to tackle the problem? What policy measures should they avoid?
  • What specific case studies can help to point us in the right direction?