Essays on Climate Change and Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Lotanna Emediegwu

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis investigates how meteorological factors affect food security in the sub-Saharan African (SSA, hereafter) region using appropriate empirical tools. In addition to introducing new weather variables in the study of SSA agriculture, the thesis meets the above objective by (a) examining the roles of temporal and spatial spillovers in the region's agricultural production function; (b) exploring the influence of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) on common food prices in the region, while accounting for nonlinearities and structural changes concurrently. The essays in this thesis focus on the "availability" and "accessibility" pillars of food security. This research advocates that agricultural production models should incorporate temporal and spatial effects. These effects are important since units of observations are never "truly" spatially independent and, thus, must be accounted for. The research identifies three sources of spatial influences (in the errors, dependent and independent variables) that can affect economic outcomes in a unit. Therefore the research develops a spatio-temporal panel framework to control for both spatial and temporal effects. The empirical analysis shows that accounting for spatial and temporal spillovers exacerbates and attenuates wet day cumulative effect, respectively, and local crop production is affected by neighbouring countries production. Besides, the research attempts to forecast the impact of climate change on millet yields in SSA while controlling for climatic and statistical errors inherent in such kind of exercise. Further, the research examines how global climate anomalies affect food prices in SSA using a regime-switching model. The research applies this model to account for two important properties of food prices - nonlinearities and structural changes - concurrently. Using a newly assembled database of food prices for SSA, results from the research indicate that there is heterogeneity (and, to some degree, asymmetry) in the impact of ENSO across countries and food classes.
Date of Award31 Dec 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAlastair Hall (Supervisor) & Grada Wossink (Supervisor)


  • food security
  • regime-switching model
  • vapour pressure deficit
  • temperature
  • El Nino Southern Oscillation
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • spatial econometrics
  • agriculture
  • wet day frequency

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