Impacts of monetary and macroeconomic factors on food prices in eastern and southern Africa
Eastern and southern Africa has been experiencing relatively large increases in real food prices since the early 1980s. Real food prices in some African countries grew as much as 11% per year during the 1980-1996 period. The huge volatility in food prices coincided with the implementation of structural adjustment programmes in several African countries. This study examines the impacts of monetary and macroeconomic factors on real food prices in eastern and southern Africa. Using the technique of cointegration and error correction modelling to test the long-run relationship between real food prices and the factors that influence their behaviour in selected African countries. Demand elasticities for food are estimated for selected countries. The empirical results show that changes in domestic food production, coupled with income, trade, exchange rate and monetary policies have significant impacts on real food prices, with wide implications for food availability and food security in the region.