Digitalising food assistance: Political economy, Governance, and Food security effects 


CEDEJ Khartoum Seminar Series at CEDEJ Cairo

Digitalising food assistance: Political economy, Governance, and Food security effects 

Date: Wednesday April 24th, 2024
Time: 11am
Speakers: Tamer Abd Elkreem (CEDEJ-Khartoum/University of Khartoum) – Susanne Jaspars (SOAS University of London) – Christina Sathyamala (Institute for Human Development, Delhi, India) – Iris Lim ( SOAS University of London)



Food insecurity is a growing global issue, with increasing numbers of people experiencing humanitarian crisis or precarious livelihoods.  To tackle this problem, governments, businesses, and aid organisations are promoting various digital solutions to enhance food security. However, there is limited understanding of how effective these digital practices truly are.  

In this seminar we introduce our project, which explores how the digitalisation of food assistance has influenced vulnerability to food security, its role as a source of power and way of governing, and to examine implications for addressing hunger, locally and globally.  The project includes case studies in Sudan, India and the UK, and aims to promote joint leadership between researchers from the global South and North.  In this seminar, we will focus on Sudan and include some reflections on similarities and contrasts with the other countries, as well as global issues.   

Sudan is experiencing a catastrophic increase in violence since 15 April 2023. Heavy fighting between Rapid Support Forces and the Sudan Armed Forces is severely impacting the lives of most of Sudan’s population. This paper examines the adoption of digital technologies in society and in aid before this escalation in crisis, the impact of first the 2021 military coup and then the April 2023 war, and discusses the vulnerabilities, risks, and possibilities of digital technologies during these momentous events.  We will discuss, first, how the reliance of communication and financial systems on digital technologies in 2019-2021 meant that their blocking or collapse has contributed to the risk of crisis or famine. Second, we will review the digital technologies used or tested since April 2023, their role in providing assistance to crisis-affected populations, and the actors, authorities, and businesses involved.  Finally, we will reflect on how these practices impact on power relations and inequalities, with a particular emphasis on the weaponisation of communications services in relation to the political economy of aid.    


Biographies of the Speakers: 

Susanne Jaspars is the Principle Investigator of the project.  She is a Senior Research Fellow at the SOAS Food Studies Centre.  Susanne Jaspars researches the political dynamics of food in situations of conflict, famine, and humanitarian crisis. Ongoing interests include regimes of food practices and power relations, social approaches to nutrition and accountability for mass starvation, European migration and asylum policies and their effects.  She has worked mostly in the Horn of Africa, often Sudan. 

Tamer Abd Elkreem is a Co-Investigator/Sudan lead researcher of the project. He is a lecturer at the department of Sociology and Social Anthropology and the Deputy Director of Peace Research, University of Khartoum. His research interest focuses on power relations of development, Anthropology of post-colonial state, anthropology of mega developmental projects and critical analysis of its discourses and practices in Sudan. 

Christina Sathyamala is a Co-Principal Investigator and the lead India researcher of the project. She is a public health physician and an epidemiologist with a PhD in Development Studies. Currently, she is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Institute for Human development (IHD), New Delhi and the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague. Her areas of interest include food politics, political economy of health, reproductive rights, environmental justice and medical ethics. 

Iris Lim is the UK-lead researcher for the project. As a Post-Doctoral Researcher in Food Studies in the SOAS Department of Anthropology and Sociology, her expertise lies in digital public service delivery, digital inclusion, migration, citizenship and integration, and critical user-experience (UX) research. 

Citer ce billet
luisaarango2020 (2024, 21 avril). Digitalising food assistance: Political economy, Governance, and Food security effects . Researching Sudan - A perspective on contemporary Sudans. Consulté le 21 mai 2024, à l’adresse

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