The Food Price Spikes of 2008/09 and 2010/11: Country-Level Impacts and Policy Responses

Pedro Conceição, and Sebastian Levine and Zuzana Brixiov, UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa

In this paper we explore the heterogeneity of impacts on countries in Africa during the two spikes in food prices in 2007/08 and 2010/11 and the differences in the policy responses. We first establish the linkages between changes in international food prices, the manifestations and impacts at country level, and the range of responses available to local policy makers. We then analyse the macro and micro-level impacts in more detail using a measure of food vulnerability, market data for a range of food groups and countries, and data on consumer prices from African countries. We also discuss recent studies on the impact of rising prices on household level welfare. In the penultimate section of the paper we present findings from a survey of policy response by African governments to food price increases and we discuss the differences in responses according to their macro, micro or structural focus, and the country-specific circumstances.