Time to act on nutrition and food systems in Africa
On 7 March 2018, the NEPAD Agency and its development partners at the first NEPAD Agency-Pan African Parliament high level event on Nutrition and Food Systems, made the call for more action towards addressing the scourge of hunger and all forms of malnutrition on the continent. Despite remarkable progress in economic growth and nutrition in some regions and countries in the world, the overall situation of food security and nutrition in Africa continues to lag behind global trends. Approximately one out of four persons in sub-Saharan Africa and one out of five on the continent were estimated to be undernourished in 2015.
“Africa’s development strongly hinges on food and nutrition security. Parliamentarians have a very critical role to play in championing the course of nutrition. However, individually and collectively, we have equally binding responsibilities to do our part in making hunger and malnutrition a phenomenon of the past within this decade”
Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency
Echoing these sentiments, Martin Chungong, Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union stated that, “Nutrition and food security are eminently political issues. Parliamentarians have an important advocacy mission as they are the ‘bridge’ between the people and their governments. No change for the better will be felt until these issues are prioritised, adequately funded and carefully implemented.” Hon. Mamedi Sidibe, Chairperson of the Western Africa Caucus on behalf of Pan African Parliament also made the call for action in emphasising that good health and well-fed citizens are the engines of Africa’s growth and development. Mr Lewis Hove speaking on behalf of the Assistant Director General of FAO, Mr Bukar Tijane reiterated the need for evidence need policies. He underscored the importance of food trade integration and facilitation of the enactment of laws. He further noted that the provision of adequate resources is critical to attain the nutrition targets and that FAO can play a role in supporting this food systems approach.
@NEPAD_Agency and @faosfsafrica lead a workshop on Food and Nutrition in Africa with continental Parliamentarians. from the Committee on Committee on Rural Economy, Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment. pic.twitter.com/YousT72StB
— PanAfricanParliament (@AfrikParliament) March 7, 2018
Nahas Angula, Convenor of the Namibia Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Lead Group Member of Scaling Up Nutrition Movement reiterated that, “A sustainable, healthy food system and good nutrition is both the starting point and the foundation of sustainable development.” The high level event on Nutrition and Food Systems for the Pan African Parliamentary Members and relevant stakeholders was convened with the objective of sensitising parliamentarians and NEPAD’s partners on key continental nutrition and food systems issues, and enhance dialogue and understanding of the challenges and opportunities for action and impact.
Addressing the scourge of hunger and all forms of malnutrition remains a continental priority, as outlined in Africa’s Malabo Declaration and its implementation strategy and roadmap. The Malabo Declaration is a commitment to reducing stunting to below 10 per cent in Africa and underweight in children under 5-years- old to below 5 per cent by 2025, with the aim of eliminating hunger in Africa in the next decade, addressing the goals captured in Africa’s Agenda 2063, the continental vision for transformation.