Africa in Maps


The database also contains information on infrastructure (presence of main, secondary and tertiary roads), on rural and urban population numbers and the number of refugees in camps, as well as some agro-ecological information. The base year is 2005.

The dataset uses publicly available data which in most cases covers district or provincial level, and occasionally national level or grid level (such as for population). Using dedicated procedures this information is downscaled to grid level: for the assessment of data quality and how data may be used in further work, it must be born in mind that most of the data are constructs rather than on the spot observations, even when after aggregation raw data at higher level can be recovered.

The database offers a novel way to assess undernourishment. Based on information from the Demographic and Health Surveys (, the weights of women and children have been translated into calorie intake for the population as a whole, using physiological relationships, while correcting for age and gender. This approach delivers a consumption map expressed in the familiar kcal per day per person. Direct use of measures of undernourishment in the surveys (BMI for adults and weight for age for children) leads to a reassessment of the undernourishment that differs markedly with levels published in other sources (e.g. FAO).

See Van Wesenbeeck et al., 2009 ( for details on these findings.


The database can be accessed in a variety of ways.  There is a hard copy limited edition (Africa in maps, see the link to the pictures in the main news item), only to be browsed at the premises of the Centre in Amsterdam. The database is also available in digital form. The book is available as pdf (click here for a sample of Ruanda). Grid-level data that can be used as input into GIS packages is available as ASCII files. District aggregates are available as CSV-files, to be read by spreadsheets. For the content of the data base and the full list of variables and the various formats, click here.


The database is available on CD-ROM and can be ordered by stating your name, organization and address in an email to or in a letter to:

The Centre for World Food Studies
De Boelelaan 1105
1081 HV Amsterdam
The Netherlands

Copyright is reserved on the data held by SOW-VU. Data may be used for research and in presentations without charge, but all output resulting from the use of the data must acknowledge the source as ‘compiled from the Africa in Maps data repository, Centre for World Food Studies’. Data may not in any way of trade or otherwise be sold or re-sold. SOW-VU shall bear no responsibility for any damage, (whether direct or indirect) or costs incurred due to damage as a result of the use of the data and/or the information published on this website.