Prominent Influence of Socioeconomic and Governance Factors on the Food-Energy-Water Nexus in sub-Saharan Africa
Ding, Ke Jack
Hornberger, George M.
Food, energy, and water (FEW) are primary resources required for human populations and ecosystems. Availability of the raw resources is essential, but equally important are the services that deliver resources to human populations, such as adequate access to safe drinking water, electricity, and sufficient food. Any failures in either resource availability or FEW resources-related services will have an impact on human health. The ability of countries to intervene and overcome the challenges in the FEW domain depends on governance, education, and economic capacities. We distinguish between FEW resources, FEW services, and FEW health outcomes to develop an analysis framework for evaluating interrelationships among these critical resources. The framework is applied using a data-driven approach for sub-Saharan African countries, a region with notable FEW insecurity challenges. The data-driven approach using a cross-validated stepwise regression analysis indicates that limited governance and socioeconomic capacity in sub-Saharan African countries, rather than lack of the primary resources, more significantly impact access to FEW services and associated health outcomes. The proposed framework helps develop a cohesive approach for evaluating FEW metrics and could be applied to other regions of the world to continue improving our understanding of the FEW nexus.