Food systems in Southern Africa: drivers of change and opportunities for influence

This briefing investigates the ‘driving forces’ or ‘trends’ shaping southern African food systems. The analysis is intended to raise awareness of the potential to shape future outcomes in this complex multi-faceted and interrelated systems and argues that the World Food Programme (WFP) can play a major role as a direct stakeholder and enabler of partnerships in the region. Based on this analysis, plausible scenarios for Southern African food systems will be constructed to enable WFP to assess how the organisation might influence these scenarios over the coming decade. The foresight gained from a scenario process helps to inform necessary action. In particular, the scenarios help in identifying leverage points based on WFP’s key mandate. The analysis of ‘driving forces’ helps determine certain elements of Southern Africa’s future that are difficult to predict with complete certainty. Understanding what these are is important because it increases the sense of urgency to act; an appropriate response can decrease the impact of these uncertain development trajectories.

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