Unlocking the potential for achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 – ‘Zero Hunger’ – in Africa: targets, strategies, synergies and challenges

  • Prudence Atukunda Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • Wenche Barth Eide Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Norway
  • Kristin R. Kardel Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  • Per Ole Iversen Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo, Norway; Department of Haematology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway, and Division of Human Nutrition, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg, South Africa
  • Ane C. Westerberg Institute of Health Sciences, Kristiania University College, Oslo, and Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
Keywords: Africa, climate change, covid pandemic, development programs, food systems, governance, malnutrition, Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations


Background: The UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 (‘Zero Hunger’) aims to end all forms of hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Thus, a range of different strategies are needed to facilitate the achievement of SDG 2 to overcome challenges and enable synergies between various SDG targets.

Objective: The aim of this review is to highlight Africa’s progress toward SDG 2, including targets, strategies, synergies and challenges.

Methods: We scrutinized published research articles in peer-reviewed journals, UN reports and in-country Africa reports (between 2015 and 2020) that were relevant to the current topic.

Results: Several hunger indicators are showing slow progress or even deterioration in Africa. The prevalence of undernourishment in the general population was 19.1% in 2019 and is expected to increase to 25.7% by 2030. Improvements in child stunting in several regions in Africa are slow, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where about 34% of under-fives were stunted in 2012 and 31% in 2019. In Eastern Africa, stunting prevalence decreased from 38% in 2012 to 34% in 2019. Major drivers of hunger are poor governance and state fragility, war and conflicts, increasing inequality, weak economic development, climate change, biodegradation – and now lately the Covid 19 pandemic – factors that all increase food insecurity.

Conclusion: Africa is off track to reach SDG – ‘Zero Hunger’ – by 2030. Current efforts and progress are insufficient. Africa must champion the SDG agenda on a national, regional and global level to facilitate synergies to unlock the potential for reaching ‘Zero Hunger’ throughout the continent.


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How to Cite
Atukunda, P., Eide, W. B., Kardel, K. R., Iversen, P. O., & Westerberg, A. C. (2021). Unlocking the potential for achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 2 – ‘Zero Hunger’ – in Africa: targets, strategies, synergies and challenges. Food & Nutrition Research, 65. https://doi.org/10.29219/fnr.v65.7686
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