VIRTUAL MEETING: 1st Africa Food Environment Research Network Meeting

3 – 5 November 2020. Meeting Theme: Connecting Food Environment Researchers across Africa.

Improving food environments in Africa is an urgent priority. In recent decades, rapid urbanization, coupled with changes in food environments, has been driving the “nutrition transition” in Africa[1]. Dietary habits of people in Africa are shifting towards unhealthy processed foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt. This has resulted in increasing rates of obesity and associated diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), coexisting with the age-old burden of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. Africa needs policies designed to create supportive food environments for healthy food choices for everyone. Research is also needed of how food environments are experienced by people, such as, how food environments inside children and adolescents’ homes, schools or communities routinely influence their food consumption. This contextual evidence provides insights into which policies may be more effective in reaching those most in need.

Against this background, the MEALS4NCDs Project convened the first Africa Food Environment Research Network Meeting (FERN Meeting). This virtual event connected researchers in the African sub-region and Global North whose work relate directly or indirectly to improving food environments in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Day 1

  • Prof. Amos LaarProviding Measurements, Evaluation, Accountability, & Leadership Support (MEALS) for NCDs Prevention: Lessons from Ghana
  • Prof. Kwasi Torpey – FERN Launch : Food Environment Research Network
  • Dr. Christopher Turner Research Fellow in Food Systems and Public Health Nutrition Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, UKTopic: Food environment research in LMICs: concepts and emerging evidence 
  • Dr. Hibbah Osei-Kwasi AXA Postdoctoral Fellow University of Sheffield, UKTopic: Development of the African food environment framework 
  • Dr. Mark SpiresResearch Fellow Centre for Food Policy, City, University of London, UK Topic: Approaches to understanding lived experiences of food environments: a Community of Practice 
  • Prof. Christine Blake Associate Professor University of South Carolina, USATopic: Understanding Drivers of Food Choice: What, How, and Why do People Eat the Way they do? 
  • Mr. Dominic Rowland Research Fellow UKRI GCRF action against stunting Hub, UKTopic: Preview of Preliminary Food Environment Experience Metric 
  • Dr. Gershim Asiki Research Scientist (Medical Epidemiologist) African Population and Health Research Center, Nairobi, KenyaTopic: Developing a package of effective regulatory interventions for healthier food environments in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
  • Dr. Isabel MadzoreraPostdoctoral Researcher Harvard School of Public Health, USA Topic: Diet Quality for Women: Relation to Adverse Birth Outcomes in Tanzania Prof. Michelle Holdsworth
  • Prof. Charles AgyemangProfessor Academic Medical Centre, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands Topic: Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (RODAM Study) 
  • Prof. Adama Diouf Professor University Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal Topic: Evaluation of Public Policies for the Creation of Healthy Food Environments in Senegal: Results and Perspectives
  • Dr. Namukolo Covic Senior Research Coordinator International Food Policy Research Institute, Addis Ababa,Ethiopia Topic: Food system transformation using diet quality as an entry point: lessons for work on food environments 
  • Prof. Felix Asante and Mr. Makafui Dzudzor Professor and Pro Vice Chancellor Office of Research, Innovation and Development, University of Ghana + PhD student, ZEF University of Bonn, GermanyTopic: Partnerships for Healthy Diets and Nutrition in Urban African Food Systems – evidence and strategies – The NOURICITY Project 
  • Dr. Reginald AnnanSenior Lecturer School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of
    Science and Technology, GhanaTopic: Exploring Ghana’s Food Environment: Researching Obesogenic Food Environments in Ghana 
  • Prof. Richmond Aryeetey Associate Professor School of Public Health, University of Ghana Topic: Development of Food-Based Dietary Guidelines in Ghana: A Learning Journey 

Day 2: Capacity building

  • Dr. Stefanie VandevijvereINFORMAS’ Healthy Food Environment PolicyIndex (Food-EPI)

  • Mr. Sukati Mphumuzi Senior Nutrition and Food Systems Officer FAO Regional Office for Africa, Accra GhanaTopic: Ending Hunger Initiative: Updates from FAORAF 
  • Dr. Prof Karen Hofman Professor and Director of PRICELESS SA SA MRC/ Wits Centre for Health Economics and Decision Topic: Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) tax process in South Africa 
  • Mr. Peiman Milani Consultant Rockefeller Foundation Topic: Improving Diet Quality across Food Environment 
  • Mr. John NorteyDeputy Director Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Statistics, Research and Information Directorate, Ghana Topic: Monitoring the Cost of Nutritious Diets: Updates from MoFA-SRID 
  • Dr. Nicholas BricasResearcher CIRAD, UMR Moisa, Montpellier, France Topic: How Social Sciences can Contribute to Food Environment Studies


  • Prof. Kenneth Yongabi Anchang Professor Imo State University, Nigeria 
  • Dr. Ali Jafri Assistant Professor Mohammed VI University of Health Sciences, Casablanca, Morocco Topic: Changing Food Environments to Prevent NCDs in Morocco: Initiatives to Lower Sodium Intake 
  • Dr. Muniirah Mbabazi Researcher Nutrisat, UgandaTopic: 
  • Dr. Meenal Dhall Assistant Professor University of Delhi, India Topic: Nutrition and food habits of African and Indian population: An Anthropological perspective

Day 3: Capacity building

  • Prof. Amanda Lee INFORMAS’ FoodPrices Module 
  • Vanessa NigtenKnowledge Broker Netherlands Food Partnership Topic: Ghanaian Urban Food Environments Coalitions: Short overview of Netherlands Food Partnership Work 
  • Prof. Francis ZotorProfessor of Public Health Nutrition Head, Department of Family and Community Health University of Health & Allied Sciences Council Member, International Union of Nutritional Sciences Topic: Moving the Nutrition Agenda for Africa’s Development

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