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2020 Global Hunger Index reveals ‘serious’ level ‎of hunger in Nigeria

Nigeria ranks 94 out of 107 countries in 2020 Global Hunger Index ‎

NIGERIA has been ranked 94 ‎out of 107 countries in the 2020 Global Hunger Index (GHI), revealing there is a ‘serious’ level of hunger in the country.

“In the 2020 Global Hunger Index, Nigeria ranks 98th out of the 107 countries with sufficient data to calculate 2020 GHI scores. With a score of 29.2, Nigeria has a level of hunger that is serious,” parts of the 2020 Global Hunger Index report, published on globalhungerindex.org, said.

The development means that, despite being one of the biggest producers of crude oil in the world, and also possessing large deposits of natural gas and other abundant economically viable mineral resources, Nigeria only ‎performed better than nine other countries out of the 107 nations whose data were calculated for the 2020 GHI scores.

The nine countries which recorded worse hunger levels than Nigeria are Afghanistan with a score of 30.3 in 99th position, Lesotho, 30.7, 100 position, Sierra Leone, 30.9, 101st position, Liberia, 31.4, 102nd position, Mozambique, 33.1, 103rd position, Haiti, 33.5, 104th position, Madagascar, 36.0, 105 position, Timor-Leste, 37.6, 106th position, and Chad, which fared worst in the ranking by taking the 107th position with a hunger score of 44.7.

The GHI classifies hunger scores from 35.0 to 49.9 as ‘alarming’, while scores ranging from 20.0 to 34.9 are classified as ‘serious’, the category which Nigeria fell under.

Hunger scores in the range of 10.0 and 19.9 are classified as ‘moderate’‎, while 9.9 is categorised as ‘low’.

African countries, among those whose data were calculated for the 2020 GHI scores, which performed better than Nigeria, include Tunisia – the best-ranked country in the continent at 23rd position with a score of 5.7, Egypt, 54th position, 11.9, South Africa, 60th position, 13.5, Ghana, 63rd position,15.2, Senegal, 65th position, 17.1, Gambia, 67th position, 17.8, Gabon, 68th position, 18.2, Cameroon and Namibia at 70th position with the same score, 19.1, Benin, 79th position, 22.4, Botswana and Malawi, both 80th position, 22.6; Mali, 82nd position, 22.9, Kenya, 84th position, 23.7, Mauritania, 85th position, 24.0, Togo, 86th position, 24.1; Cote d’Ivoire, 87th position, 24.5; Tanzania, 89th position, 25.0; Burkina Faso, 90th position, 25.8, Congo, 91st position, 26.0, Ethiopia, 92nd position, 26.2, Angola, 93rd position, ‎26.8, Sudan, 94th position, 27.2, and Rwanda, 97th position, 28.3.

‎Beginning from 2006, in October every year, the Global Hunger Index is jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe,‎ with the objective of comprehensively measuring and tracking hunger at the global, regional, and country level‎s.

GHI scores are calculated each year to assess progress and setbacks in combating hunger. The GHI is designed to raise awareness and understanding of the struggle against hunger, provide a way to compare levels of hunger between countries and regions and call attention to those areas of the world where hunger levels are highest and where the need for additional efforts to eliminate hunger is greatest.

Its scores are calculated using a three-step process that draws on available data from various sources, and for each country, values are determined for four indicators namely undernourishment, child wasting, child stunting, and child mortality.

Undernourishment deals with the proportion of the population that is undernourished (whose caloric intake is insufficient), child wasting looks at the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (who have low weight for their height, reflecting acute undernutrition).

In the same vein, child stunting is the indicator that looks at the proportion of children under the age of five who are stunted (who have low height for their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition) while child mortality deals with the mortality rate of children under the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments).

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The 2020 Global Hunger Index, which is the 15th edition of the annual survey, noted that, in Nigeria, disparities were observed in some aspects of the indicators, with some states and regions having greater challenges than others.

“Parts of the 2020 GHI report, with specific reference to Nigeria, read, “At the state level, the highest stunting rate is in Kebbi State, at 66 per cent, while the lowest stunting rate is in Anambra State, at 14 per cent.

“Wasting is highest in Sokoto State, at 18 per cent, compared with a rate of just 1 per cent in Bayelsa State. Twenty-five per cent of children in Kebbi State do not live to their fifth birthday, while the under-five mortality rates in Lagos State and Bayelsa State are remarkably lower, at 3.1 and 3.0 percent, respectively.”

It added that “the states with the greatest challenges are consistently in the north of the country (Nigeria), which has been plagued by violence in recent years”.

According to the GHI, an analysis of the effects of conflict on child wasting has confirmed that children exposed to conflict in Nigeria are much more likely to suffer from acute malnutrition.

The report added, “The disparities between the best and worst performers for each indicator are striking, and while there is some overlap in terms of which states face the greatest struggles according to different indicators, it is also clear that the nature of the problem varies from state to state.”

‎Overall, the 2020 GHI reported that h‎unger was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, whose 2020 GHI scores are 27.8 and 26.0, respectively. “‎According to the GHI Severity Scale, these scores indicate serious levels of hunger. In contrast, the 2020 GHI scores of Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, East and Southeast Asia, and West Asia and North Africa range from 5.8 to 12.0, indicating low or moderate hunger levels,” the report observed. ‎

The high GHI score in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, was attributed largely to the huge number of undernourished people in the region.

According to the report, between 2017 and 2019, more than one in five people – 21.2 percent – in Sub-Saharan Africa did not get enough calories. The rate, which has been rising gradually since 2014, is the highest of any region in the world and represents 230 million people who are undernourished in Nigeria and other Sub-Saharan African countries.

However, on a global level, although the 2020 GHI reported that worldwide hunger was at a ‘moderate level’, it also noted that too many individuals are suffering from hunger and undernutrition.

“Nearly 690 million people are undernourished; 144 million children suffer from stunting, a sign of chronic undernutrition; 47 million children suffer from wasting, a sign of acute undernutrition; and in 2018, 5.3 million children died before their fifth birthdays, in many cases as a result of undernutrition,” the report said.

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It added that the world was not on track to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal – Zero Hunger by 2030.

According to the report, at the current pace, approximately 37 countries will fail even to reach low hunger, as defined by the GHI Severity Scale, by 2030.

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