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Table 8 Africa: Net Cereal Imports (000 tons)
|Total North Africa||1,399||3,163||3,817||5,157||5,263||4,045|
|Cape Verde I.||36||39||35||69||39||34|
|Niger||- 49||39||5||64||24||- 45|
|Total West Africa||895||1,219||1,543||3,090||3,626||3,417|
|Central Afr. Rep.||12||16||10||5||29||43|
|Sao Tome and Principe||6||7||6 9||8||8|
|Total Central Africa||171||516||578||578||1,187||1,233|
|Eastern and Southern Africa|
|Total Eastern and Southern Africa||617||776||1,062||1,073||3,702||2,899|
|Total other countries||1,581||3,392||4,196||5,786||6,041||5,365|
1Invited members of the UN Economic Commission for Africa but not belonging to the regional Conference.
Those of Nigeria increased fivefold, those of Benin fourfold. They also tripled in Central Africa. Angola, which used to export 10% of its production, came to import 21% of its consumption, and Gabonese imports went up fivefold.
Overall, it was eastern and southern Africa that had the lowest imports, the figures having not even doubled. There too, however, some countries faced particularly serious situations. Indeed, Tanzanian imports during the period increased more than eightfold, those of Ethiopia almost threefold. Madagascar imported most: 15 times more cereals in 1978 than in 1969-71. Egypt's imports, in the 'other countries' group, rose more than fourfold.
A number of countries stand out from this general deficit situation, however: these were net exporters or countries whose imports declined sharply. One such was Kenya which remained a net exporter and whose exports increased even further by 1978. In the rest of southern and eastern Africa, imports showed a declining trend in Botswana, Malawi and Uganda. In the other sub-regions, this downward trend can be observed only in the Central African Republic. It remains to be established whether or not these falls were due to inadequate means to finance imports.
As for food imports in the region, what has just been noted with regard to cereals is even more marked for some other basic food products. Thus, it is estimated that by 1985 milk import requirements will increase by 6.4% per annum and those of meat by 9.8%.
Food imports are thus rising year by year. On the basis of an index of 100 for 1969-71, the volume index of food imports for the region was 121 in 1972-74, 147 in 1975-77 and 210 in 1978. In value, between 1969-71 and 1978, imports rose by 389%. It goes without saying that for most countries that have serious external payments difficulties, this situation poses serious problems for food security and for economic development in general. Compared to that, international food aid destined for the region constituted only an addition of extremely limited scope. Thus, for example, the volume of food aid sent to the region increased by 25% per annum between 1974-75 and 1977-78. But that represented only 15% of cereal imports in the period.
Table 9 shows that calorie requirements are decidedly not being met. For the whole of Africa, calorie intake as a percentage of requirements was only 93 in 1969-71 and 94 in 1975-77. Considering the various sub-regions, it is only in North Africa that the norms could be met and this happened after 1972-74.
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