Food Insecurity in the Horn of Africa and its Impact on Peace in the Region

The link between food insecurity and peace and security has become one of the centres of academic policy and political discourses. Particularly, in the Horn of Africa, there is a close link between exposure of countries to external or internal conflicts and the deterioration or long-term stagnation in their food security. Internal conflicts have mostly become the dominant model of mass violence mainly affecting rural areas and their populations. This policy brief presents the causes of food insecurity in the Horn of Africa and looks at how food insecurity affects the peace in the region. Scholars have repeatedly cited that food insecurity in the Horn is the outcome of failure in the rain-fed agricultural economy and poorly developed pastoralism. Likewise, rapid population growth, conflict, youth unemployment, climate shocks, extreme weather, economic instabilities, undernourishment, political crises, and outbreak of desert locust are taken as contributing factors to food insecurity in the region. Food insecurity and conflict trigger and strengthen one another. Conflict leads to food insecurity and food insecurity in turn aggravates conflict. Conflicts have destructive and long-term negative effects on food security which would also trigger political instability that could further disrupt the peace situation in the region. Thus, it is necessary to have sustainable food security interventions that enhance resilience to conflict and contribute to conflict prevention and mitigation efforts which could eventually bring about sustainable development in the region. Policy makers and development practitioners have a significant role in creating such situations.