Title page for ETD etd-04292004-083325

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Overbeeke, Marlies
Author's Email Address moverbee@vt.edu
URN etd-04292004-083325
Title Undernourishment in Africa
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wimberley, Dale W. Committee Chair
Snizek, William E. Committee Member
Wokutch, Richard E. Committee Member
  • Qualitative case-studies
  • Sub-Sahara Africa
  • Undernourishment Factors
  • Undernourishment Rates
Date of Defense 2004-04-26
Availability unrestricted

Since 1992, the annual decline in the undernourished fraction of the world’s population has been minimal (0.3%) making undernourishment one of the most pressing and alarming global issues. The FAO annually publishes a list of best and worst performing countries that respectively significantly decreased or increased the proportion of the population that was undernourished. Strikingly, seven out of ten global best performers and four out of ten global worst performers are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. This study therefore seeks to explore the variables affecting undernourishment rates, in an attempt to explain this variance.

Six case studies hence explored three best performers (Angola, Chad and Ghana) and three worst performers (Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia) as the unit of analysis. Three clusters of variables were studied; natural shocks, agricultural production and economy. Changes in these variables were examined between 1992-2000 and Ragin’s qualitative case study research strategy was applied to facilitate the analysis. The data indicated that the most influential variable was agricultural production. Furthermore, good governance leads to improvements in all three clusters of variables, whereas a civil war negatively effects all three clusters. Undernourishment proved to be a very complex and intertwined problem and similar research on a larger scale was recommended.

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