A report by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has said the country is on course to eliminating hunger by 2030 having made exceptional progress in the past 15 years alone.

The report released last week adjudged the level of hunger in Ghana to be “moderate”, one of only four countries in the world to have that scale. Out of the 118 countries ranked on the Global Hunger Index (GHI), Ghana scored 13.9 this year, a figure which compares to 42.7 twenty-four years ago – placing 62nd.

Drew Sample, Head of Media at IFPRI told the B&FT, Ghana is one of the success stories in Africa, being only one of three countries in Africa south of the Sahara that has reduced its hunger score by more than 50% since 2000, and one of just 4 African countries in the “moderate” hunger category.

“Obviously that means there is still much progress to be made in Ghana to really eliminate hunger by the 2030 UN goal, but Ghana also has much success to be proud of on reducing hunger,” he added.

The GHI, now in its 11th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators: undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting. The 2016 report ranked 118 countries in the developing world, almost half of which have “serious” or “alarming” hunger levels.

Global performance

The GHI score for the developing world as a whole is 21.3, which is in the low end of the “serious” category. Regionally, Africa South of the Sahara has the highest hunger level, followed closely by South Asia. Rounding out the top 10 countries with the highest levels of hunger after Central African Republic, Chad, and Zambia are: Haiti, Madagascar, Yemen, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, and Niger.

Around half of the populations of Haiti, Zambia, and the Central African Republic are undernourished—the highest in the report. In Timor-Leste, Burundi, and Papua New Guinea, approximately half of children under five are too short for their age due to nutritional deficiencies.

According to the data, the global community is not on course to end hunger by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal deadline of 2030. If hunger declines at the same rate as the report finds it has since 1992, more than 45 countries - including India, Pakistan, Haiti, Yemen, and Afghanistan - will still have “moderate” to “alarming” hunger scores in the year 2030, far short of the goal to end hunger by that year.

“Simply put, countries must accelerate the pace at which they are reducing hunger or we will fail to achieve the second Sustainable Development Goal,” said IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan.

“Ending global hunger is certainly possible, but it’s up to all of us that we set the priorities right to ensure that governments, the private sector and civil society devote the time and resources necessary to meet this important goal.”

The report identified the Central African Republic, Chad, and Zambia as having the highest levels of hunger. Seven countries had “alarming” levels of hunger, while 43 countries – including high-population countries like India, Nigeria, and Indonesia – had “serious” hunger levels.

The report outlined some bright spots in the fight to end world hunger. The level of hunger in developing countries as measured by the Global Hunger Index has fallen by 29 percent since 2000.

Twenty countries, including Rwanda, Cambodia, and Myanmar, have all reduced their GHI scores by over 50 percent each since 2000. And for the second year in a row, no developing countries for which data was available were in the “extremely alarming” category