A spatially explicit assessment of current and future hotspots of hunger in Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of global change

Junguo Liu*, Steffen Fritz, C. F.A. van Wesenbeeck, Michael Fuchs, Liangzhi You, Michael Obersteiner, Hong Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hunger knows no boundaries or borders. While much research has focused on undernutrition on a national scale, this report evaluates it at subnational levels for Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to pinpoint hotspots where the greatest challenges exist. Undernutrition is assessed with a spatial resolution of 30 arc-minutes by investigating anthropometric data on weight and length of individuals. The impact of climate change on production of six major crops (cassava, maize, wheat, sorghum, rice and millet) is analyzed with a GIS-based Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (GEPIC) model with the same spatial resolution. Future hotspots of hunger are projected in the context of the anticipated climate, social, economic, and bio-physical changes. The results show that some regions in northern and southwestern Nigeria, Sudan and Angola with a currently high number of people with undernutrition might be able to improve their food security situation mainly through increasing purchasing power. In the near future, regions located in Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, southwestern Niger, and Madagascar are likely to remain hotspots of food insecurity, while regions located in Tanzania, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo might face more serious undernutrition. It is likely that both the groups of regions will suffer from lower capacity of importing food as well as lower per capita calorie availability, while the latter group will probably have sharper reduction in per capita calorie availability. Special attention must be paid to the hotspot areas in order to meet the hunger alleviation goals in SSA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-235
Number of pages14
JournalGlobal and Planetary Change
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008


  • climate change
  • crop production
  • MDGs
  • undernutrition


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