The Netherlands, France and Switzerland are the three countries enjoying the planet’s cheapest, healthiest and most plentiful diets according to a new Oxfam ‘Good Enough to Eat’ index, while three African countries have the worst.
The Oxfam Food Index measured the quality of people’s food by its diversity, their access to safe drinking water, and the extent of unhealthy outcomes such as diabetes and obesity levels.
Access to food were assessed by checking levels of malnutrition, while affordability was measured by food price volatility and price levels relative to other goods and services.
European countries occupy the entire top 20 except for one – Australia – which ties in 8th place. African countries occupy the bottom 30 places in the table except for four – Laos, Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
>> Read our coverage: New global food table: Europe feasts while Africa fasts
Angola and Zimbabwe suffer the most volatile food prices, while the US has some of the cheapest and most stable food prices. Burundi, Yemen, Madagascar and India had the planet’s worst rates of malnutrition, although Burundi and Cambodia were also among the best performers for obesity and diabetes. The US, Mexico, Fiji, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia scored the most poorly.
>> Click on the image below for a complete overview
The EU imports 40% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural exports – including nuts, fresh-cut flowers, tea, coffee, citrus fruits and vegetables – according to European Commission figures.
Trade has nearly doubled in the decade since Europe began forging closer economic ties with African nations under EU commitments to boost trade and aid.
But foreign commerce doesn’t necessarily lead to prosperity. A decade of economic improvement and growing south-north trade “has not been translated into commensurate reductions in unemployment and poverty,” says the 2011 Economic Report on Africa.
With notable exceptions, many African countries offer uninviting climates for investment because of bureaucracy, protectionism, mercurial politics and primitive infrastructure. Rudimentary trans-national and trans-continental transport and banking also hamper commerce.
- Global Food Index
- Press release: Dutch beat French and Swiss to top Oxfam’s new global food table (15 Jan. 2014)