What should Africa do to ensure its food sovereignty?

DECEMBER 12th 2022 – 2PM GMT

The period opened by the covid-19 pandemic has brought the issue of food sovereignty of the African continent to the forefront. Indeed, food prices have increased in real terms by 26 points between 2020 and 2021 and, with the consequences of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, by 16.5 points between 2021 and 2022. For the 36 African countries that the FAO classifies as low-income food-deficit countries, this situation has resulted in higher food imports, made even more painful by the depreciation of the exchange rate of their currencies against a U.S. dollar that has consolidated its status of save haven currency. With limited foreign exchange reserves and fiscal space, African governments have turned to the International Monetary Fund, which invariably requires them to reduce or eliminate energy and food subsidies in exchange for its ‘assistance”. Under such conditions, it is not surprising that some countries in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa are in the grip of a food crisis, while others are experiencing food riots.

What should be the responses of African countries to the current crisis? What practical steps should be taken towards food sovereignty on the continent? How could the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) facilitate or not the food sovereignty of the continent? What policies should be put in place regarding access to land? Are there examples on the continent or elsewhere that could serve as a model for food policy? What about initiatives such as ARGA (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa)?

These questions will be addressed during the webinar of December 12, 2022, 14:00-17:00 GMT.

With the participation of Ange David Baïmey (GRAIN), Chair; Ruth Nyambura (No REDD in Africa), Habib Ayeb(Observatoire de la Souveraineté Alimentaire et de l’Environnement), Freedom Mazwi (Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies), Rokhaya Daba Fall (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research Institutes), George Tonderai Mudimu (Collective of Agrarian Scholar- Activists from the South), Diery Gaye (Cadre National de Concertation et de Coopération des Ruraux).

Ange David Baïmey


Ange-David joined GRAIN in 2014, after working for several years with social movements in Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and other West African countries on issues ranging from climate justice to biodiversity loss. A passionate advocate for social and environmental justice in rural areas, Ange-David works closely with GRAIN’s partners across Africa. His main focus is on land grabbing and climate issues. Ange-David has a background in environmental sociology and knowledge management.

Ruth Nyambura


Ruth Nyambura is a Kenyan feminist and organizer whose research interests are primarily on the agrarian political economy/ecology in Africa, as well as other parts of the Global South. She has previously worked as the global coordinator of the Hands Off Mother Earth Campaign (HOME) – a global movement supported by over 200 grassroots organizations resisting geoengineering technologies as well as other false solutions to the climate crisis. Nyambura has also worked as the head of advocacy and communications for the African Biodiversity Network (ABN)

Nyambura has written extensively on various aspects of the current agrarian transformations in Africa with her overall work focusing on the ideological underpinnings of the ‘New Green Revolution in Africa’ and its ties to philanthro-capitalist organizations such as the Gates’ Foundation and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Ruth’s research also analyzes the rapidly changing policy and legislative frameworks across the continent related to biosafety and Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) regime which are not only criminalizing the rights of small-holder/-peasant farmers to use their traditional/indigenous seeds but are also opening up the space for foreign agri-business companies on the continent. Ruth is part of the No REDD in Africa (NRAN) Collective which challenges forest related carbon markets and documents the impacts of these schemes on local communities in Africa.

Nyambura is the founder and convenes the African Ecofeminist Collective. She is a board member of the Blue Planet Project (BPP) as well as an executive committee member of the Permanent People’s Water Forum.

Ruth holds an LL.M in Comparative Law, Economics and Finance from the University of Turin (UNITO), Italy and has been a judge on the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature.


To read some of Ruth’s work:

  1. GMOs in Africa – https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/poverty-matters/2013/jun/24/gm-crops-african-farmers
  2. The Right to Food in Kenya (Editor of the series) – http://routetofood.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Cha-Kula.pdf


Habib Ayeb is a geographer, researcher and professor emeritus at the University of Paris 8 in Saint Denis, France. A specialist in social geography, his research areas cover issues related to food sovereignty, the environment, peasant issues, climate change, marginality and poverty, social change, dynamics and processes of resistance to climate change, and the role of the environment in the development of food security … Its research areas are mainly focused on Tunisia and the whole of North Africa.

His latest major publication is the book with Professor Ray Bush of the University of Leeds (UK): Habib Ayeb & Ray Bush (2019) Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa. Agrarian Questions in Egypt and Tunisia. Anthem Press, London.

He is also a committed documentary filmmaker. Among his films: Couscous : Om-Layoun (2021 – on water issues), Seeds of Dignity (2017 – on food sovereignty), Fellahin (2014 – on small farmers’ resistance), Gabes Labess (2014 – on the environment) and Green Mirages (2012 – on development models and impoverishment).

In 2017, Ayeb and other comrades created the “Observatory of Food Sovereignty and Environment – OSAE” (https://osae-marsad.org/qui-sommes-nous/), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) based in Tunis.

Ayeb is a member of several institutions and networks, including LAVUE – Lab AUS – University Paris 8; the International Advisory Board of the “Journal of Peasant Studies”; the Thimar Rural Network (founding member) – http://athimar.org/en/about-. He has recently joined the Advisory Board of Agrarian South.

Freedom Mazwi


Freedom Mazwi is a Researcher with the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies (SMAIAS) based in Harare. His research focusses on agrarian transitions in Africa with a specific reference to the penetration of capital and its implications on the peasantry. He holds a Ph.D. in Development Studies and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. Freedom is also an Editorial Assistant with the Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy and author of the book “The Political Economy of Contract Farming in Zimbabwe”.

Rokhaya Daba Fall


Rokhaya Daba FALL is a trained Agronomist Engineer, Pedologist from the Faculty of Agronomy of Gembloux in Belgium (class of 1980). At the national level, she was the first director general of the National Institute of Pedology (2004-2010) to teach courses in rural economics at ENAM and in rural land management at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar (UCAD). At the international level, she has served on several boards of the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research Institutes (CGIAR) and the first Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and represented the FAO in Central Africa from 2010 to 2014.

She is the President of the Gas, Energy and Oil Network (GEONET), created in November 2021 and which aims to be an observatory of the energy sectors in West Africa. 

George Tonderai Mudimu


George T. Mudimu holds a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Western Cape, under the DSI/NRF South African Chair in Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies, Prof. Ruth Hall. He researches land politics, rural politics, social movements, agrarian change, and political economy. He has published in: Review of African Political Economy; The Journal of Peasant Studies; Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy; Geojournal; Journal of African Contemporary Studies. George is a book reviews co-editor for The Journal of Peasant Studies. George is an active member of the Collective of Agrarian Scholar- Activists from the South (CASAS). He is part of the Emancipatory Rural Politics Initiative.

Diery Gaye


Member of the Conseil National de Coopération et de Concertation des Ruraux (CNCR), an organization that promotes peasants’ rights, organic agriculture and food sovereignty.