Global Hunger Index Report, 2013

From the 1990 GHI to the 2013 GHI, 23 countries reduced their scores by 50 percent or more. Forty-six countries made modest progress. Their GHI scores dropped by between 25 and 49.9 percent, and 21 countries decreased their GHI scores by less than 25 percent.

In Africa south of the Sahara, only one country Ghana is among the 10 best performers in terms of improving its GHI score since 1990. Kuwait’s progress in reducing hunger is due mainly to its unusually high score in 1990, when Iraq invaded the country: its GHI score fell by more than 7 points (or 59 percent) by 1995, by 3.4 points between 1995 and 2000, and by only 0.2 points after 2000.

Vietnam has achieved impressive progress in reducing hunger since 1990. It reduced the proportion of undernourished from 47 percent to only 9 percent, lowered underweight in children from more than 40 percent around 1990 to 12 percent in 2011, and more than halved the under-five mortality rate. GDP per capita has more than tripled in Vietnam since 1990, and strong, broad-based economic growth translated into a decline in the proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day from 64 percent in 1993 to 17 percent in 2008 (World Bank 2013). The country put nutrition high on its agenda, effectively developed and implemented a plan for preventing protein-energy malnutrition among children, achieved high coverage of immunization and other primary healthcare services, granted targeted health subsidies to the poor, and successfully administered social security programs.

Another Southeast Asian country Thailand has also reduced its 1990 GHI by almost three-quarters. In the past two decades, Thailand experienced robust economic growth and reduced poverty despite transient setbacks related to the Asian financial crisis. As early as the 1980s, the government showed a strong commitment to fighting child undernutrition by integrating nutrition into its National Economic and Social Development Plan and implementing successful community-driven nutrition programs.

The three worst performers are located in Africa south of the Sahara. Increased hunger since 1990 in Burundi and Comoros can be attributed to prolonged conflict and political instability. In Comoros, the GHI score fell after peaking in 2000, but has climbed up again since 2005. Between 1990 and 2000, Burundi’s GHI score rose by almost 6 points and remained at a very high level, close to 40 until 2005. It has dipped only slightly since. With the transition to peace and political stability that started in 2003, the country began a slow recovery from decades of economic decline.

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