Stronger funding and policies are needed to fight malnutrition which affects more than 80 million children, say leaders meeting in Addis Ababa –

  • Lesotho, the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and their partners are calling for renewed commitment to improve the nutrition of Africa’s children.
  • “We have a duty and responsibility to reduce malnutrition and stunting in Africa by 40% by 2025, just one year from now,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.
From left to right: Minata Samaté Cessouma, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development at the African Union Commission; Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, National Security and Environment of the Kingdom of Lesotho; Sahle-Work Zewde, President of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, February 19, 2024 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/-Africa’s children pay a heavy price for malnutrition, leaders noted Friday evening during a high-level roundtable organized by the African Union and African Leaders for Nutrition champion, King Letsie III of Lesotho.

At least 86 million African children under the age of five face various forms of malnutrition, 63 million are stunted, 10 million are overweight and 3 million are wasted, i.e. that they are too low in weight for their height.

For heads of state and government, vice-presidents, ministers and leaders of partner and development organizations this situation represents an enormous challenge for Africa’s development. They were speaking at a meeting titled: “African Union High-Level Roundtable: Combating Malnutrition, Catalyzing More Multi-Sectoral Investments for Africa’s Transformation,” organized on the sidelines of the 37th session ordinary session of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

Speaking on behalf of King Letsie III of Lesotho, Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, National Security and Environment of the kingdom called on African Union Member States to submit solutions in policies and programs to strengthen nutrition through multi-sectoral investments.

“Our commitment as leaders remains an essential pillar in the conduct of political and legislative actions aimed at combating malnutrition. Member States must adopt stronger policies and increase funding for nutrition to reverse the trend of malnutrition and secure a future for our children,” said Mr Matekane. He welcomed the commitment of the African Leaders for Nutrition to inspire African leaders to do more to improve nutrition for the general well-being and economic development of the continent.


Speaking at one of the panel discussions, the President of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, reflected on the Seqota Declaration made by the Ethiopian government in 2015 as a renewed commitment to eradicate hunger, to ensure food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. The Seqota Declaration constitutes the Ethiopian government’s high-level commitment to end stunting among children under two years of age by 2030, she said.

“The African Development Bank’s support for the Seqota Declaration has had a spectacular impact on [prévention] illness and death, educational performance and insufficient labor productivity,” she said.

“We have a duty and responsibility to reduce malnutrition and stunting in Africa by 40% by 2025, just one year from now,” Adesina said, adding: “It is therefore essential that strong policies be deployed by heads of state and government to combat malnutrition. »

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Mr. Adesina explained that poor nutrition prevents school-aged children from realizing their educational potential, decreases work productivity and hinders much-needed contributions to society, while negatively impacting economic growth.

As co-founder of African Leaders for Nutrition, a high-level policy engagement platform that aims to influence innovative investments in nutrition and food security, the Bank Group President warned that the The situation could deteriorate further if action is not taken.

“The number of undernourished people in Africa is expected to increase to 51.5%. Focusing on transforming food systems is therefore an urgent priority,” said Mr. Adesina. He cited findings from World Food Program studies on the cost of hunger in Africa, which show that malnutrition has a significant impact on societal progress.

Sierra Leone’s Vice President, Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, said his country had opened a dedicated budget line for nutrition, which multilateral agencies can support.

Highlighting in turn the importance of political leadership and collaboration in the fight against malnutrition, the Commissioner for Health of the African Union, Minata Samaté Cessouma, on behalf of the President of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat , called on all Member States to join forces in the fight against malnutrition.

The roundtable, also co-organized or supported by development partners such as Big Win Philanthropy, Nutrition International and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), highlighted leaders for nutrition which aligned the national strategic objectives of African countries with the continental and global nutrition agendas.

The representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization in Ethiopia, Farayi Zimudzi, noted that there are more stunted children today than twenty years ago and that Stunting statistics in Africa are on the rise.

“Every dollar invested in nutrition can generate a return on investment of 16 dollars. Tackling malnutrition makes good economic sense,” she added.

The discussions were moderated by Victor Oladokun, Senior Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank Group.

Victor Oladokun, Senior Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank Group, moderated the discussions. He notably met with the Ethiopian President, Sahle-Work Zewde.

Ministers, development partners and other stakeholders reviewed progress towards achieving the nutrition goals of the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP), the Malabo Declaration, the World Assembly health and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, through sustained and increased investments in nutrition.

Distributed by African Media Agency (AMA) for the African Development Bank.

Contact: Natalie Nkembuh, African Leaders for Nutrition, media@afdb.org

Source : African Media Agency (AMA)

2024-02-19 10:15:40
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