The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper analyzes food inflation trends in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) from 2000 to 2016 using two
novel datasets of disaggregated CPI baskets. Average food inflation is higher, more volatile, and
similarly persistent as non-food non-fuel (NF/NF) inflation, especially in low-income countries (LICs)
in SSA. We find evidence that food inflation became less persistent from 2009 onwards, related to
recent improvements in monetary policy frameworks. We also find that high food prices are driven
mainly by non-tradable food in SSA and there is incomplete pass-through from world food and fuel
prices and exchange rates to domestic food prices. Taken together, these finding suggest that central
banks in low-income countries with high and persistent food inflation should continue to pay attention
to headline inflation to anchor inflation expectations. Other policy levers include reducing tariffs and
improving storage and transport infrastructure to reduce food pressures.