Cost of food still proportionally very high in sub-Saharan Africa

By our News Team | 2022

Geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions and increasing energy prices are leading to rising food inflation in the region.

Consumers in Kenya, Nigeria and Angola are among those spending proportionally more for their food, as spending on basic foodstuffs remains high in sub-Saharan Africa compared with other emerging and developing countries.

A document published by international research company Euromonitor, entitled 10 Key Socioeconomic Facts About Sub-Saharan Africa, notes that geopolitical tensions, supply chain disruptions and increasing energy prices are leading to rising food inflation, further constraining consumers’ purchasing power in the region.

Socio-Economic Perspectives

A cassava farmer arranges his tubers while he waits for buyers at Elekara market in Oyo, Nigeria. Photo credit: Tenisnaps via Wikimedia Commons

This purchasing power has been under strain for some time, given low income levels. Of the nine SSA countries surveyed (Kenya, Nigeria, Angola, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa), South African consumers fare best when it comes to spending on food as a proportion of their total income. Tanzania is second best and Côte d’Ivoire is third best.  

The statistics are for 2021, with Euromonitor noting that: “countries heavily affected by food inflation were those with among the largest spending on food and non-alcoholic beverages, namely Ethiopia, Angola and Nigeria”.

Among the other key points:

AfCFTA to boost bilateral trade and promote digital platforms

Intra-African trade is not uncommon, but mainly consists of minerals and low-value manufactured and processed goods. The key to improving bilateral trade will be export diversification and product sophistication. 

Cross-border services, particularly in the financial sector, mobile payments and digital shopping, are also set to benefit over the medium to long term. While there are still several hurdles to overcome in terms of intellectual property rights and competition policies, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) E-commerce Protocol aims to develop and promote local online platforms.

M-commerce to lead digital transformation

Rising penetration of mobile internet and smartphones is driving digital transformation in sub-Saharan Africa, as only a relatively small share of households have access to a computer. Mobile internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa almost doubled over the past five years, reaching 48% of the total population in 2021, while smartphone penetration rose to 77% of households in 2021. 

Lack of physical addresses is being overcome by unconventional delivery solutions, partnerships or establishing central pick-up points. For example, an on-demand grocery delivery company in South Africa, Zulzi, has incorporated ‘what3words’ into its delivery process, while an online delivery service in Kenya, Mtaani, has established over 80 local pick-up points linked to Kenya’s mobile payment system M-Pesa.

Dr Kin Kariisa

Group CEO - Next Media

Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

  • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
  • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
  • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
  • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
  • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.