"Pandemic increases violence against women"

/

What are the consequences of Corona for women in Africa? Jan Ruebel asked Léa Rouanet - the economist works at the Africa Gender Innovation Lab of the World Bank.

 

Together against discrimination: Participants of  a support group in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Photo: Christoph Püschner/Brot für die Welt
Together against discrimination: Participants of a support group in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Photo: Christoph Püschner/Brot für die Welt

Léa Rouanet

Léa Rouanet is an Economist working at the World Bank Africa Gender Innovation Lab. Her current research identifies and addresses gender-based constraints to economic activity in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on agriculture, youth employment, socio-emotional skills, gender-based violence and adolescent girls programming. She is currently involved in several impact evaluations on these topics across Africa. Before joining the World Bank, Rouanet was a PhD candidate and Research Fellow at the Paris School of Economics, where her research focused on nutrition, child mortality, fertility and gender preferences in Africa. She holds a PhD from the Paris School of Economics.

The World Bank’s Africa Region Gender Innovation Lab (GIL) conducts impact evaluations which assess the outcome of development interventions in Sub-Saharan Africa, to generate evidence on how to close the gender gap in earnings, productivity, assets, and agency. GIL focuses on five thematic areas: Agriculture, Private Sector Development, Property Rights, Social Norms, and Youth Employment.

GIL

 

Does any data already show what effect Corona is having on gender inequalities in African countries?

It is still a bit too soon for strong data. One of the reasons is that with the lockdowns, development agencies have stopped doing interviews and collecting data. Hence, a lot of planned surveys haven’t happened yet. Instead, we moved to telephone surveys. But speaking on the phone about mental health and gender based violence is tricky. And, most women do not own the phones you are calling. It is hard to ensure confidentiality… However, some early findings suggest that the pandemic may indeed be widening the already large gender inequalities in developing countries. We’re working with researchers at Facebook and the OECD to examine COVID’s impact on business closures. Based on a sample of ca. 27,000 business pages on Facebook, we find that about 26% of businesses have closed in the past six months. When we control for the region where a business is located, we find that women entrepreneurs are about 6 percentage points more likely to close their business than men. For example, in Sub-Saharan Africa, 41% of women-owned businesses were shuttered in the past six months, a level that is 7 percentage points higher than that of male-owned firms. This is likely due to women entrepreneurs‘ sector of operations, lower capital base, and higher care responsibilities. The Gender Innovation Lab also surveyed female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia: 64% of female owned firms in the sample have closed; many say it’s temporary; 24% of respondents said they were having trouble paying their loans; and 70% say they could use loans to get through the crisis.

 

With Covid-19, the vulnerability of women and mothers has increased. Symbolic photo: Christoph Püschner / Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
With Covid-19, the vulnerability of women and mothers has increased. Symbolic photo: Christoph Püschner / Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

So, what do you do?

As much as possible, we are moving to phone surveys to follow up with our existing sample and understand what is happening to them. For instance, we are starting data collection for a youth employment project in Ivory Coast, conducting telephone surveys with young men and women of Abidjan and Bassam.

 

What results do you expect?

The health aspect of the Coronavirus pandemic might be of greater importance for women because they work more as caregivers and health workers. The economic impact on them is also expected to be worse, since women are more likely to be in informal sectors, spend more time on household and care activities, and have fewer assets to cushion them from shocks.

 

Corona strengthens social structures that have been around for generations. Does this destroy prior achievements for women’s rights?

A lot of achievements from the last decades are threatened by lockdowns, school closures and reductions in health services. Take female farmers, for instance. They are mainly responsible for domestic chores and caretaking duties. Even before Covid-19, they had less time for their farms and had lower productivity compared to men. Now, with all these measures in place, it is more likely that they will have to shoulder more domestic responsibilities.

 

What happens when adolescent girls are affected by lockdowns, closed schools and reduced job chances?

We have good informative evidence from Sierra Leone during the Ebola pandemic. It shows that girls spent an additional 1.3 hours per week with men during the Ebola crisis. In areas with high prevalence of Ebola, girls were also twice as likely to become pregnant. Pregnancies are highly linked to the likelihood of leaving school, and they have long-term consequences. Now, with closed schools and a reduction in health services, this means less access to sexual and reproductive health services and contraceptives. Basically, this can interrupt the trajectories of adolescent girls at a point in life so critical for their outcomes.

 

Female entrepreneurs with less income need social protection via money transfers and graduation programs.

 

How should health systems respond to gender-based violence, for instance?

The fact that most women don’t have their own smartphones makes it even harder for us to work with them as we don’t know how to reach them. It also makes it difficult for women to reach services when they need help. Although the rigorous evidence on this topic remains limited, UN and WHO recommendations offer several approaches that governments and NGOs can consider. First, they can increase the capacities of existing helplines. If a woman is threatened, she will eventually find a phone to call and we need to make sure that somebody takes these calls. Second, in the current crisis we need to think about the mental health consequences of gender-based violence and start to think about how to address it. For sure, we need to train community healthworkers and give them the skills to respond to this violence – not only as an intermediate response, but also for the mental health problems that will arise as a result. This will be very crucial when we enter the recovery phase of the Covid19 crisis.

 

During the lockdown, where can women go when they have been attacked at home?

They can’t escape easily. Shelters need to be expanded. You mentioned health systems, but when we talk about gender-based violence, we need to address behavoural changes, too. We need campaigns, using all the media available. And we need to bring in religious and community leaders. At the World Bank, we have programmes mobilizing community and religious leaders, for instance under the Sahel Women’s Empowerment and Demographic Dividend Project, and now we are retailoring them to the current situation.

 

Psychological help in African countries is not particularly widespread…

The level of psychological counseling and psychosocial support is indeed low. However, you can increase and develop the number of trained people everywhere. I have seen more and more interventions and improvements, and there are promising avenues. I have been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and we are currently doing an impact evaluation of Narrative Exposure Therapy, which can help survivors of gender-based violence suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Congolese healthworkers are trained and, while they are not mental health professionals, they can help. Initial results from this work are encouraging. There is room for improvement on this topic, using the available rigorous evidence.

 

What is the role of cash transfers for women – and how can this reduce violence against them?

They are important in the context of violence. A recent review found that, out of 14 cash transfer programmes that had been evaluated, 11 of them led to a decrease in intimate partner violence due to the transfers. This is one incentive for providing transfers during the current crisis. Reducing household poverty and stress helps reduce conflict and violence. These transfers are disproportionately important for women for other reasons, too. Before COVID-19, we already knew that women had less savings and lower access to credit and that they worked more in sectors with less of a safety net. Basically, cash transfers are one of the only options for these female business owners to buffer them from the crisis.

 

Democratic Republic of Congo: Women carry their crops in plastic trays to the market in the next larger village. Photo: Christoph Püschner / Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe
Democratic Republic of Congo: Women carry their crops in plastic trays to the market in the next larger village. Photo: Christoph Püschner / Diakonie Katastrophenhilfe

Female entrepreneurs work more in the informal and operate strongly in less profitable sectors. Does that make it more difficult to reach out to them? What can be done?

The poorer women business owners need social protection through cash transfers and graduation programs. Female enterprises are strongly affected by shocks, so that they need support through the crisis and beyond. For more established firms led by women, impactful financial tools include lines of credit and meso-financing with flexible terms, as well as psychometrics and alternative collateral technologies. Another avenue would be to adapt the mindset entrepreneurship training, that we evaluated in Togo, to the COVID context, using a digital platform. In the agricultural sector, you can provide inputs, seeds, and fertilizers; to women farmers who already have access to mobile technologies, you can provide digital extension services. If we don’t help women farmers now, their productivity will be down next year. Now is the planting season, so it is the right time to act.   

 

Does the choice of sector matter for women? Is it important that women enter branches where they are typically less likely to operate?

It matters a lot. Sector choice explains a big part of the gender wage gap – that is true everywhere in the world. At the World Bank, we did several studies in Sub-Sahara Africa to examine what happens when women “crossover” into male-dominated sectors. Women who transition into these sectors generate the same profits as men. But now, during COVID-19, sectors matter even more.

 

Teams at the Worldbank plan to combine programs of money transfer with the delivery of phones.

 

Do you fear more conflicts? That men are defending their privileges even harder?

Yes, I do fear that. A working paper in April looked at the link between pandemics and violence against women. Based on existing literature, it documents nine direct and indirect pathways, from pandemics to violence.

 

For example?

First, economic insecurity and poverty-related stress. However, what is very specific for this crisis now, the social isolation, is that women can end up being stuck at home with their perpetrators.

 

Women are crucial for maintaining the food system. What are the most powerful tools to help them?

Even when women do not work directly in the food industry as vendors or producers, they are responsible for bringing food to the table. If businesses are affected disproportionately, unless there is a reallocation of who is in charge of food expenses in the household, food security might be disproportionately affected by this crisis. This concern is even greater because we know that women work a lot in the food system. In urban areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, informal food markets are a major source of accessible and affordable food. Most of the street vendors and informal traders are women. Measures being taken now threaten both the flow of the food trade and the incomes of these female traders. Again, cash transfers are probably their best option.

 

But how does that work if they don’t own phones?

It’s true that digital payments can be tricky for such population. For that reason, some teams at the World Bank are thinking about matching cash transfer programs with delivering phones. Mobile money still sounds like a promising option in many contexts. The Supporting Women’s Livelihoods component of the World Bank Zambia GEWEL project includes digital payments for women that are quite innovative as the project provides women beneficiaries with a choice between payment service providers, including commercial banks, mobile operators, and the post office. Over 90 percent of beneficiaries choose a mobile money provider. The choice-based, multi-provider system doesn’t just facilitate implementation, but also empowers women by promoting their agency and financial inclusion. There isn’t an explicit COVID component under GEWEL, but the project continues to be implemented during this period, providing economic relief and recovery for extremely poor households in rural areas.

 

So, providing a mobile phone, money and business skills will aid women’s rights – is it really that easy?

No, this will support women’s productivity and women staying in employment and income. These are key for women’s empowerment. And let us not forget the clear link between poverty and violence.

 

All this would be needed, too, without Corona? How much more urgent are things now?

Many of these women-led businesses would not necessarily need cash transfers and support if we didn’t have the lockdown and economic crisis, simply because trade would and could continue freely. However, helping women access labor and non-labor inputs, including credit and assets, is always important – there is still a huge gender gap in terms of access. The same applies to human capital and education! We are worried girls won’t come back to school when they reopen. We must make sure they do!

Go back

Similar articles

Hunger must not be a consequence of the epidemic!

By Michael Brüntrup (DIE)

Even though COVID-19 poses a threat to the health of humanity, the reaction to the pandemic must not cause more suffering than the disease itself. This is particularly relevant for poor developing countries, where the impact of the corona crisis on food security is even more severe!

 

Read more

Good health is impossible without healthy food

By Heino von Meyer

Corona makes it even more difficult to achieve a world without hunger by 2030. So that this perspective does not get out of sight, Germany must play a stronger role internationally - a summary of the Strategic Advisory Group of SEWOH.

Read more

Developing countries hit doubly hard by coronavirus

By Gunter Beger (BMZ)

In most African countries, the infection COVID-19 is likely to trigger a combined health and food crisis. This means: In order to cope with this unprecedented crisis, consistently aligning our policies to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is more important than ever, our author maintains.

Read more

“Corona exposes the weaknesses of our nutritional systems"

Interview with Arif Husain (WFP)

The United Nations plan a Food Systems Summit - and now the Corona-Virus is dictating the agenda. The Chief Economist of the UN World Food Programme takes stock of the current situation: a conversation with Jan Rübel about pandemics, about the chromosomes of development - and about the conflicts that inhibit them.

Read more

"The virus does not need visa"

Interview by Dr. Ahmed Ouma (CDC)

Countries across Africa coordinate their efforts in the fight against corona by the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) of the African Union in Addis Abeba. Until now, the curve of new infections has been successfully flattened – why? Dr. Ahmed Ouma, Deputy Director, explains the work of CDC in an interview with Tilman Wörtz.

Read more

© GIZ

Actual Analysis: The locusts came with the crises

By Bettina Rudloff and Annette Weber (SWP)

The Corona-Virus exacerbates existing crises through conflict, climate, hunger and locusts in East Africa and the Horn of Africa. What needs to be done in these regions? To face these challenges for many countries, all of these crises need to be captured in their regional context.

Read more

An investment in Africa's future

By Essa Chanie Mussa

Rural youth need viable livelihood opportunities to escape out of poverty and realize their aspirations. How could they be helped to fully unleash their potential? This is an aloud call that needs novel strategies among governments, policy makers, and international development partners and donors.

Read more

New campaign for women: "Poverty is sexist"

Interview with Stephan Exo-Kreischer

This is a benchmark for everybody: More rights for women are a very influencing solution in the struggle against extreme poverty and hunger worldwide, says Stephan Exo-Kreischer, Director of ONE Germany. The organisation specialises in political campaigning as a lever for sustainable change.

Read more

Not waiting for a savior

By Lidet Tadesse

While Africa is the least affected region by Covid-19 so far, the number of confirmed cases and deaths on the continent is quickly rising. Despite the challenges many African countries continue to face, the African response to the coronavirus pandemic displays innovation and ingenuity.

Read more

A new U.S. Africa policy?

By Jan Rübel

After four years of Donald Trump in the White House, it is time to take stock: What policies did the Republican government pursue in African regions? And what will change in favor of Joe Biden after the election decision? Here is an evaluation.

 

Read more

“We have to prepare for the unexpected”

Interview with Dr Maria Flachsbarth (BMZ)

In August, Germany’s development ministry set up a division concentrating on One Health topics. Parliamentary State Secretary Maria Flachsbarth on knowledge gaps at the human-animal-environmental interface, the link between One Health and food security, and lessons learnt from previous pandemics.

Read more

Quinoa could have a huge potential in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea Basin has been especially hard-hit by salinisation.

Planetary Health: Recommendations for a Post-Pandemic World

By Dr. Kathleen Mar and Dr. Nicole de Paula

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, health is receiving unprecedented public and political attention. Yet the fact that climate change is also affecting the environmental and social determinants of health in a profound and far-reaching way deserves further recognition.

Read more

It all comes down to the young population

By Jan Rübel

What happens when young people leave the rural areas? How can the region achieve what is referred to as the demographic bonus – and how can it reap the benefits of the demographic dividend? A look at demography shows the following: What is most important is promoting women’s rights and education.

Read more

Do we have to dare a new food system?

A contribution by Dr. Felix zu Löwenstein (BÖLW)

Lack of seasonal workers and virus explosion in slaughterhouses, rising vegetable prices, climate crisis – all this demonstrates: Our food system is highly productive and (at least for the rich inhabitants of planet earth) guarantees an unprecedented rich and steady food supply - but it is not resilient.

Read more

Video diaries in the days of Corona: Voices from the ground

A contribution by Sarah D´haen & Alexander Müller, Louisa Nelle, Bruno St. Jaques, Sarah Kirangu-Wissler and Matteo Lattanzi (TMG)

Young farmers’ insights on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa @CovidFoodFuture and video diaries from Nairobi’s informal settlements.

Read more

Success story allotment garden: Food supply and women's empowerment

By Nadine Babatounde and Anne Floquet

To prevent malnutrition among young children and strengthen the role of women in their communities, Misereor, together with the local non-governmental organisation CEBEDES, is implementing a programme on integrated home gardens in Benin - a series of pictures.

Read more

School Feeding: A unique platform to address gender inequalities

By Carmen Burbano de Lara (WFP)

Besides the well known impacts of Covid19 lockdowns for the adult population, the associated school closures led to 90 percent of the world’s children with no access to schools. However, school meals are in often the only daily meal for children. Without access to this safety net, issues like hunger, poverty and malnutrition are exacerbated for hundreds of millions of children.

Read more

Gender equality: Essential for food and nutrition security

By Carsta Neuenroth (BfdW)

The majority of producers in developing countries are women. Although they contribute significantly to the food security of their families, they remain chronically disadvantaged in male-dominated agriculture in terms of access to land, credit, technology and education.

Read more

Africa's face of agriculture is female

By Beatrice Gakuba

Africa has a huge opportunity to make agriculture its economic driver. However, the potential for this is far from being made exhaustive use of, one reason being that women face considerable difficulties in their economic activities. The organisation AWAN Afrika seeks to change this state of affairs.

Read more

(c) Welthungerhilfe

5 questions to S. Fan: Where are the new roads?

Interview with Shenggen Fan

Shortly before ending his position as Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPR) Dr. Shenggen Fan talks about the reforms and new modes of operation needed to achieve global food security in the coming decade.

Read more

GFFA 2021 focussed on climate and COVID-19

A report by David Sahay (Zeitenspiegel)

110 speakers from 120 countries met virtually at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture (GFFA) to discuss the challenges to global food supply. They asked the question: How can food systems support the health of people and the planet?

Read more

Africa's rapid economic transformation

A report by T. S. Jayne, A. Adelaja and R. Mkandawire

Thirty years ago, Africa was synonymous with war, famine and poverty. That narrative is clearly outdated. African living standards are rising remarkably fast. Our authors are convinced that improving education and entrepreneurship will ensure irreversible progress in the region even as it confronts COVID-19.

Read more

Reference values: A building block on the road to social equality

A contribution by Friederieke Martin (GIZ)

A quick and cost-effective method calculates living wages and incomes for many different countries. The GIZ together with Fairtrade International and Richard and Martha Anker have developed a tool that companies can use to easily analyse income and wage gaps.

Read more

Quinoa could have a huge potential in Central Asia, where the Aral Sea Basin has been especially hard-hit by salinisation.

Supermarket Scorecard on Human Rights

A contribution by Dr. Franziska Humbert (Oxfam)

Oxfam’s supermarket scorecard, which is in its third year, shows one thing in particular - it works! Supermarkets can change their business policies and focus more on the rights of those people around the world who plant and harvest food. However, this does not happen without pressure. 

Read more

KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

Wanted: German investment in African agriculture

Interview with Stefan Liebing

Stefan Liebing is chairman of the Africa Association of German Business. The manager calls for a better structure of African farms. Jan Rübel asked him about small farmers, the opportunities for German start-ups and a new fund.

Read more

How the self-help approach empowers smallholder women

A report by INEF and Kindernothilfe

Supporting groups of smallholding women substantially contributes to strengthen rural operations economically. The organisation and associated group activities can help to reduce extreme poverty and improve the food situation.

Read more

Global responsibility: Tackling hunger is the only way forward

By Lisa Hücking (WHH)

Chancellor Merkel has begun an ambitious European political programme: Striving for compromise in budget negotiations, an orderly Brexit as well as an appropriate response to the corona crisis. Unfortunately, one of her positions that she previously held is nowhere to be found: Africa's prosperity is in the interest of Europe. 

Read more

A partnership to fight hunger

By GAFSP

The Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) was launched by the G20 countries in 2010 in response to the 2008-09 food price crisis to increase both public and private investment in agriculture. An overview of the programme's approach, results and impact.

Read more

(c) Michael Bruentrup/DIE

News from the starting block: Changeover

By Michael Brüntrup

The region of Sub-Saharan Africa is on the decisive verge of a great development boost in farming: it could skip entire generations of technological development. But how?  About possible roles and potentials of digital services.

Read more

(c) Welthungerhilfe

5 questions to F. Patterson: Why is there more hunger?

Interview with Fraser Patterson

Every year in October, the "Welthungerhilfe" aid organisation, with the Irish "Concern Worldwide" NGO, publishes the Global Hunger Index, a tool with which the hunger situation is recorded. What are the trends - and what needs to be done?

Read more

Hier steht eine Bildbeschreibung

Statement from GAFSP Co-Chairs: GAFSP and COVID-19 Pandemic

By GAFSP

COVID-19 has unprecedented effects on the world. As always, the most vulnerable are the hardest hit, both at home and - especially - abroad. A joint appeal by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) and the Department for International Development (DFID).

Read more

JOERG BOETHLING / GIZ

Continent in an uptrend

By Dr. Agnes Kalibata

Partnering for Africa’s Century: Innovation and Leadership as Drivers of Growth and Productivity in Rural Areas

Read more

"Extreme is the new normal"

By Alexander Müller, and Jes Weigelt

As the climate changes, the population of Africa is growing and fertile land and jobs are becoming scarcer. New ways are currently leading to urbanisation of agriculture and a new mid-sized sector in the countryside

Read more

© GIZ / Angelika Jacob

This is how developing countries can adapt better to droughts

By Michael Brüntrup und Daniel Tsegai

Droughts are the natural disasters with far-reaching negative consequences. While rich countries are still vulnerable to drought, famines are no longer found.

Read more

(c) Christof Krackhardt/Brot für die Welt

Together and resourceful against worldwide hunger

By Brot für die Welt

Climate change disturbs the climate in Ethiopia. The answer from small farmers in the northern region is convincing: diversify!

 

Read more

(c) Christoph Mohr/GIZ

Microinsurance against climate change

By Claudia Voß

Climate change is destroying development progress in many places. The clever interaction of digitalisation and the insurance industry protects affected small farmers.

Read more

(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Hunger is caused by people, not the climate

Interview with Jacob Schewe

A study by the World Bank predicts that millions of people in sub-Saharan Africa will have to leave their homelands because of climate change. We have spoken with one of the authors

Read more

5 Questions for Gunther Beger (BMZ): What must be done?

Interview with Gunther Beger (BMZ)

How much will it cost to sustainably end world hunger by 2030? This question was posed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) that commissioned two research teams with finding an answer. The results of the studies will be presented on October 13 in the run-up to World Food Day.

Read more

Podcast: Fighting world hunger together

Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Podcast of the Federal Government

At the start of World Food Week around World Food Day on 16 October, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed that the fight against global hunger will only be successful with international responsibility and solidarity (german only).

Read more

'It has never been more possible'

Interview with Carin Smaller (Ceres2030)

Over a period of two years, the Ceres2030 team spent researching answers to the questions of how much it will how much it will cost to realize SDG 2 and where that money should be spent most effectively. IISD Senior Advisor and Ceres2030 Co-director Carin Smaller about small farmers, machine learning and women empowerment.

Read more

"Agricultural research unties the Gordian knot"

Interview with World Bank Vice President Voegele

The CGIAR agricultural research organization is systematically repositioning itself. We spoke with Juergen Voegele, Vice President for Sustainable Development at the World Bank, about progress to date - and discuss what needs to be done collectively to stop global hunger in ten years.

Read more

Climate Adaptation Summit 2021: ‘We can do better’

Event report by Jan Rübel (Zeitenspiegel)

The first Climate Adaptation Summit put climate adaptation at the center of politics for the first time. The virtual meeting united global players with one goal: building resilience is just as important as climate protection itself. Around 15,000 participants discussed direct proposals.

Read more

5 Questions for Jann Lay: What is Corona doing to the economy?

Interview with Jann Lay (GIGA)

The Corona pandemic is hitting economies around the world very hard - but developments in African countries are quite diverse. There are different speeds, resiliences and vulnerabilities. What are the reasons for this? Apl. Prof. Jann Lay of the GIGA Institute provides answers.

Read more

Land Rights, Gender and Soil Fertility in Benin

A contribution by Dr. Karin Gaesing and Prof. Dr. Frank Bliss (INEF)

Especially in densely populated areas, land pressure leads to overexploitation of available land and a lack of conservation measures. The West African country of Benin, with heavily depleted soils in many places, is no exception.

Read more

Resilience in times of crisis

Yemen is currently experiencing one of the worst disasters, due to war, hunger and disease outbreaks. The GIZ is locally engaged to improve the nutrition and resilience of Yemenites.

A project of GIZ

Read more

(c) GIZ

Sustainable artisanal fisheries and aquaculture in rural areas

Fish is important for combating malnutrition and undernourishment. But it is not only notable for its nutritional value, but also secures the livelihoods and employment for 600 million people worldwide.

Ein Projekt der GIZ

Read more

Turning many into one: CGIAR network restructures

A contribution by Jan Rübel

International agricultural research is responding to new challenges: Their advisory group is undergoing a fundamental reform process and unites knowledge, partnerships and physical assets into OneCGIAR.

Read more

KLAUS WOHLMANN / GIZ

"Farmers are smart"

Interview with Maria Andrade

From the lab to the masses: Maria Andrade bred varieties of biofortified sweet potatoes which are now widely used all over the continent. She sets her hope on the transformation of African agriculture.

Read more

(c) Kate Holt / Africa Practice

Leveraging investment impacts

A contribution by Heike Baumüller, Christine Husmann, Julia Machovsky-Smid, Oliver Kirui, Justice Tambo

Any initiative whose aim is to reduce poverty in Africa should focus first on agriculture. But what kind of investment has the greatest impact? The use of scientific criteria provides some answers.

Read more

Small-scale farmers’ responses to COVID-19 related restrictions

A study by SLE

The lockdown due to COVID-19 hit the economy hard - including agriculture in particular with its supply chains and sales markets. What creative coping strategies have those affected found? The Seminar for Rural Development has begun a research study on th

Read more

Small fish with a big potential

A contribution by Paul van Zwieten

African inland fisheries are increasingly reliant on the capture of small fish species that are sundried and traded over long distances. They make an important contribution in alleviating “hidden hunger”: consumed whole, small fish are an important source of micronutrients. Only that, unfortunately, politicians haven’t yet realised this.

Read more

Building our food systems back better

A contribution by Jes Weigelt and Alexander Müller

What is required to make food systems provide sufficient, healthy food while not harming the planet? How should food security be maintained given the threat posed by climate change? Our authors look at some aspects of tomorrow’s food systems against the backdrop of the corona crisis.

Read more

"We must mobilise all available resources"

A contribution by Ismahane Elouafi (ICBA)

Freshwater deficits are affecting more and more people throughout the world. In order to counter this, our global food system will have to change, our author maintains. A case for more research on alternative crops and smart water solutions.

Read more

© GIZ

Resilient small-scale agriculture: A key in global crises

A contribution by Kerstin Weber and Brit Reichelt-Zolho (WWF)

Biodiversity and sustainable agriculture ensure the nutrition of whole societies. But there is more: These two factors also provide better protection against the outbreak of dangerous pandemics. Hence, the question of preserving ecosystems is becoming a global survival issue.

Read more

(c) Klara Palatova/WFP

A global signpost: What way is the market, please?

A contribution by the World Food Programme

There is a clear global task: We need to feed nine billion people by 2050. We, the people of Earth, must produce more food and waste less. That is the top priority of the UN World Food Programme (WFP), too - the description of a challenge.

Read more

Frank Schultze / Agentur_ZS

Visions in agriculture

Video by Frank Schultze and Jan Rübel

At the beginning of December 2018, AGRA's board of directors met in Berlin. The "Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa" ​​panel discussed the next steps in their policy of modernizing agriculture. How to go on in the next ten years? One question - many answers from experts.

Read more

The Forest Maker and his director

Double interview with Tony Rinaudo and Volker Schlöndorff

Tony Rinaudo uses conventional reforestation methods to plant millions and millions of trees – and Volker Schlöndorff is filming a cinema documentary about the Australian. The outcome so far: An educational film on behalf of the BMZ (Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development).

Read more

The state of food security in Cape Town and St. Helena Bay

A study by Markus Hanisch, Agustina Malvido, Johanna Hansmann, Alexander Mewes, Moritz Reigl, Nicole Paganini (SLE)

Post-Covid-19 lockdown: How food governance processes could include marginalised communities - an extract of the results of an SLE study applying digital and participatory methods.

Read more

Karel Prinsloo/Arete/Rockefeller Foundation/AGRA

"Nutrition is a human right"

Interview with Joe DeVries (AGRA)

Joe DeVries is a breeder – and Vice President of AGRA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa). What are the chances and risks of a ’green revolution‘ in Africa? A discourse between Jan Rübel and him about productivity, needs, and paternalism.

Read more

(c) Nina Schroeder/World Food Programme

Green from the growth container

A contribution by Maria Smentek (WFP)

If there is a lack of fertile soil and rain, hunger breaks out quickly. Maria Smentek from the World Food Programme (WFP) explains how farmers and pastoralists can counter climate change with hydroponic-systems.

Read more

(c) Gudrun Barenbrock/GIZ

Edible bugs - the new beef?

A contribution by Marwa Shumo

Insect farming is economical and environmentally sustainable, they are high in protein and they live on agricultural waste. Marwa Abdel Hamid Shumo thinks: They are the best weapon to combat hunger

Read more

(c) Thomas Lohnes / Brot für die Welt

The hype about urban gardening: farmers or hobby gardeners?

A contribution by Stig Tanzmann

Urban gardening is becoming increasingly popular in northern metropoles. People who consider themselves part of a green movement are establishing productive gardens in the city, for example on rooftops or in vacant lots. In severely impoverished regions of the global South, urban agriculture is a component of the food strategy.

Read more

Mr. Campari, how do we create sustainable food systems?

Interview with Joao Campari (WWF)

Journalist Jan Rübel spoke with Joao Campari ahead of the UNFSS Pre-Summit. The Chair of Action Track 3 highlights key challenges in transforming existing food systems towards sustainable production and shares his expectations for the Summit.

Read more

5 questions posed to the SEWOH commissioner Dirk Schattschneider

Interview with Dirk Schattschneider (BMZ)

For about a year now, Dirk Schattschneider has been the commissioner for the special initiative "ONEWORLD No Hunger" (SEWOH) of the BMZ. In the interview, he looks back on the challenges of the past year and at the same time takes a look into the future.

Read more

Biodiversity and agriculture – rivalry or a new friendship?

A contribution by Irene Hoffmann (FAO)

In this article, our author describes what we know about the links, what role the agricultural sectors have to play in the sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity and what the transition of agricultural systems which this requires could look like in small-scale and in large-scale production.

Read more

(c) Thomas Trutschel/BMEL/photothek

Rethinking funding

By Anna Sophia Rainer

Peasant farmers tend to fail due to bank credit limits. But investment could help them generate a sustainable income. This has given rise to an intense discussion about potential digital solutions.

Read more

Support for sustainable start-ups

Companies in Africa that need financing between $20,000 and $200,000 find relatively few investors, as this sector is too large for microcredit and too small for institutional investors. This creates a "gap in the middle" where companies have limited options. A project of the World Resource Institute provides a remedy with the Landaccelerator 2020.

A World Resources Institute project

Read more

Video: 4 Questions to Claudia Makdristo

A video clip by Seedstars

Startups are booming in African agriculture. What are the current trend and challenges – and can other regions benefit from innovative approaches? A Video-Interview with Claudia Makadristo, Regional Manager of Seedstars  

Read more

(c) Katapult/GIZ

The digitised farmyard

An interactive graphic Jan Rübel

Lots of apps are entering the market, but what really makes sense? For African agriculture, some of it seems like a gimmick, some like a real step forward. So this is what a smallholder farm in Africa could look like today - with the help of smartphones, internet and electricity. 

Read more

Africa's digital disruption

Graphics

What Africa is experiencing in the course of digitisation is a disruption. Here three steps are taken in one, there you remain. In any case, the changes are enormous and bring some surprises. A graphic walk.

Read more

ONE WORLD no hunger - Meet the people driving rural transformation

A program by the partners of the special initiative One World no Hunger

The future is rural. On September 24, meet leaders and visionaries from Africa and South Asia who will enter into dialogue with european key actors.

Join uns here to meet the people.

Read more

(c) Privat

How much private investment is the agricultural sector able to bear?

By Pedro Morazán

Small farmers in developing countries must modernise their farming methods, but poorly understood reforms could exacerbate poverty instead of alleviating it.

Read more

Uli Reinhardt/Zeitenspiegel

No dirty dealing

Von Marlis Lindecke

Shit Business is Serious Business: A successful cooperation between research and the private sector.

Read more

(c) Simon Veith

The Big Bang is possible

Interview with Joachim von Braun

Happy youngsters in rural areas, green development and the connection to the digital age – professor Joachim von Braun believes in this future sceneraio for Africa. For three decades the agricultural scienties has been researching how politics can create prosperty on the continent. 

Read more

A new attempt at Africa's industrialization?

By Helmut Asche

Afrika is about ready. There are promising approaches for a sustainable industrialization. However, the path poses challenges to the continent.

Read more

Is the international community still on track in the fight against hunger?

Interview with Miriam Wiemers (Welthungerhilfe)

The Global Hunger Index (GHI) 2020 shows that the world is not on track to meet the international goal of “zero hunger by 2030”. If we continue at our current speed, around 37 countries will not even have reached a low hunger level by 2030.

Read more