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New champions initiative will create an “African Leaders for Nutrition” high-level body to advocate for diverse initiatives to end malnutrition

  |   SUN Country Network

afd alnIn March 2016, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have called for the creation of a high-level body – “African Leaders for Nutrition” (ALN) which will champion the implementation of diverse policies and interventions to address malnutrition in all its forms though agriculture, the food system, and other areas. Working together with the Gates Foundation, they will develop this new initiative which will be presented by President Akin Adesina at the AfDB’s annual meeting in Lusaka in May 2016.

Background

The Nutrition for Growth Summit (N4G) in Rio provides a key moment for nutrition in 2016. The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the African Development Bank (AfDB) believe that the time is now right for Africa to elevate the issue of nutrition on the continental and global agenda [1]. New financial and policy commitments on nutrition have the potential to deliver a wide range of economic, health and social returns.

In Africa, the extent of the challenge is deep and far-reaching.  For example, 58 million children under the age of five are stunted, 13.9 million are wasted and 8 per cent of adults over 20 are obese.  Furthermore, over 160 million children and women of reproductive age are anaemic[2].  Despite Africa’s recent rapid growth, malnutrition in its many forms remains one of the main barriers which prevents the continent and its citizens from realising their full potential.  By acting now to combat malnutrition decisively and swiftly, significant progress can be made towards Africa’s future sustainable economic success and to its enhanced social and environmental wellbeing.

The economic case for nutrition as a primary lever for economic growth in Africa is compelling; for example, in general, every dollar invested in scaling up nutrition in LMICs yields 16 in benefits[3] and malnourished children go on to earn 20% less as adults than their well-nourished peers.  Estimates suggest that in low- and middle-income countries, the impact of malnutrition decreases GDP by between 2% and 11%.

As a group of influential leaders, the ALN will encourage heads of state, finance ministers, and business leaders to increase investment in nutrition in their countries. It will also seek to stimulate specific commitments on nutrition at the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) meeting in Rio de Janeiro in August 2016.

Learn more: Global Panel

[1] The African Leaders for Nutrition initiative was proposed at the Global Panel’s High Level Round Table in Accra, November 2016.

[2] Global Nutrition Report 2015. Africa brief

[3] Global Nutrition Report 2015. Africa brief

About the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition

The Global Panel was formed after the Nutrition for Growth event in London on 8th June 2013. It is chaired by John Kufuor, former President of Ghana and John Beddington, former UK Chief Scientist. It is an independent group comprising of 12 influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security. The Global Panel aims to inform and influence policy makers in agriculture and food systems in low and middle income countries to improve diets and nutrition outcomes for all.

 

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