One positive thing about the current global food crisis is the vigorous debate it has engendered among governments, civil society, scholars and financial institutions over the varying underlying economic, political and social causes for the current situation. Consensus exists that in Africa specifically, the food crisis is further exacerbated by the disproportionate effect climate change has had on the continent, embodied in a decrease in access to arable land and potable water, droughts, and debilitating floods. Other issues, such as the role of increased demand for biofuel, or that of asymmetrical global trade policy, remain more contentious.
Industrialized nations, the World Bank, and the UN have been unified in their call for the immediate response to the crisis to be an increase in food aid to developing nations. However necessary in the short-term, food aid is an unsustainable, somewhat knee-jerk reaction to a humanitarian challenge rooted not just in current headlines like the price of oil or ethanol, but also the very organization of international economic systems.
Other than food aid from Western countries, what are solutions to the crisis? This summer, Just Africa will join this global dialogue by examining innovative civil society initiatives and the policy actions undertaken by African leaders to determine an answer to this question.