The African Development Bank (AfDB) in conjunction with Aliko Dangote Foundation and Big Win Philanthropy have unveiled a new Multi-Sectoral Nutition Action Plan geared towards raising investments for combating stunting in African children aged under 5 by 40% come 2025.
This was made known in a press release issued by the bank in Abidjan on Thursday. According to the statement, Africa loses $25 billion per year in costs attributed to child morbidity and mortality, impaired cognitive, physical, and economic development caused by malnutrition. Yet these losses are almost entirely preventable.
AfDB through the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan commits to increase the scale of investments that are ‘nutrition-smart’ in agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene, social and health sectors.
“In terms of human development, nutrition is as important as investments in infrastructure and power in stimulating economic growth. Big Win Philanthropy is thrilled with President Adesina’s leadership in giving greater priority to nutrition and the wider human capital investment agenda; said Jamie Cooper, Chair and President, Big Win Philanthropy.
“By leveraging investments across five sectors, and encouraging its member countries to do the same, the African Development Bank is achieving 'double wins' for every dollar spent: improving lives and generating economic growth.”
Speaking at the launch, Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou, said, “We know we cannot do this by ourselves, so it made sense to put money at the African Development Bank to develop this nutrition strategy. We are really happy to see the strategy come together following a two-year journey.”
The Plan will focus on integrating nutrition smart interventions into projects in the Bank’s extensive agriculture pipeline. In addition to improved productivity, the Action Plan looks into the potential to nourish Africa, by including commodity value chains that offer broad-based nutrition value, instead of just calories.
According to AfDB’s Director Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development Department, Oley Dibba-Wadda, for Africa to realise its human and economic potential, it must invest in nutrition - particularly during the 1,000 days between conception and the age of two - as a crucial foundation for productivity later in life.
“The African continent has the potential to become a powerhouse of productivity in the 21st century but cannot sustain rates of economic growth and at the same time integrate its burgeoning youth population without addressing these high rates of stunting.”
The Bank is strengthening political engagement and building partnerships by enlisting Heads of State, ministers, and eminent leaders as champions to initiate and build a high-level political movement and leadership for nutrition, known as the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), which was endorsed by the
Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU) at the 30th Ordinary AU Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 31 January 2018.