This special issue was organised in the context of the 22nd meeting of the Association of African Insect Scientists (AAIS), in Wad Medani, Sudan in 2017. The aim was to ‘support impactful research that will yield genuine edible insects products and sustain value chains that enhance food and nutritional security and support sustained livelihoods in Africa’. The issue is composed of contributions from the following countries: Kenya, Uganda, Burundi, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Malawi, and Zimbabwe. The issue attempted to strengthen the traditional inventory and perception studies and emphasise on contributions that explore entrepreneurial developments of insects use as food and livestock feed. The issue also looked at emerging R&D and innovations to enhance the use of insects to improve food and nutritional security and as a major sector in economic development in Africa.