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African Leaders Make an Economic Case for Increased Nutrition Investments 0

LUSAKA – Africa’s contribution to global malnutrition statistics is miserably high, with 58 million children under the age of five said to be too short for their age, while 13.9 million weigh too little for their height.

This is not only due to Africa’s food security deficit but also the lack of food diversity. While Africa is the only continent which fails to produce enough food to feed its own citizens, the continent’s nutrition lacks diversity.

According to available statistics, Africa does not only spend $35 billion per year on food imports, despite having 65% of the world’s remaining arable land, but also accounts for 20 of the 24 countries with stunting rates of over 40%.

“When the growth of our children is stunted today—the growth of our economies will be stunted tomorrow. But when Africa’s children are nourished and can grow, learn, and earn to their full potential, we will be able to unleash the potential of the entire continent,” said AfDB Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, during the launch of an initiative to increase investment in nutrition led by some key African leaders.

New analysis from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition shows that increased investments to meet the World Health Assembly target of reducing stunting by 40 percent by 2025 could add $83 billion in additional GDP growth in just 15 sub-Saharan African countries.

However, a new Africa-specific investment framework by the World Bank and Results for Development shows that to achieve the WHA stunting, wasting, anemia and breastfeeding targets, in sub-Saharan Africa, would require an increased investment of approximately $2.7 billion per year for 10 years.

It would require investment of approximately $1.8 billion per year from donors and $750 million from African governments over the next decade.

It is for this reason that Adesina and former Ghanaian President, John Kufor outlined their intent to create the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), which aims to bring together Heads of State, Finance Ministers, and leaders from key sectors across the continent to champion and increase investment in nutrition.

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by Friday Phiri

Photo Credits: Getty Images

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