Photograph — africa on the rise

African Development Bank Group in collaboration with The Big Win Philanthropy and Dangote Foundation launched a new multi-sectoral action plan on nutrition on Tuesday, 5th December 2018. This plan is aimed at raising investments towards reducing stunting by 40 percent in African children under age 5 by 2025.

AfDB under the tutelage of its president, Akinwumi Adesina has been working relentlessly to develop Africa by eradicating poverty. Akinwumi Adesina, an agricultural economist, has contributed greatly to the food security in Africa by being a leader in agricultural innovation in Africa for over 30 years. This initiative spearheaded by AfDB is aimed at raising investments towards reducing stunting by 40 percent in African children under age 5 by 2025. The multi-sectoral nutrition action plan still seeks to receive additional support and contributions from the government for nutrition.

The Vice-President, Agriculture and Social Development at AfDB, Jennifer Blanke stressed the importance of collaborating with private organizations for a “long-lasting result”.  Through this multi-sectoral nutrition action plan, AfDB plans to augment the proportion of investments that are nutrition-smart in agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene, social and health sectors.

The Big Win Philanthropy, an independent foundation that invests in children and young people to improve their lives and to maximize demographic dividends for long-term economic goals, is also hoping to play a larger role in the lives of African children. The Chair and President of Big Win Philanthropy, Jamie Cooper, expressed her happiness at collaborating with the AfDB to solve the problem of malnutrition in Africa.

“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,” She also said “…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.”

The Dangote Foundation, which is a philanthropic endeavor of Dangote group CEO Aliko Dangote with the main objective of reducing the number of lives lost to malnutrition and disease especially among children, was also part of the launch of the new multi-sectoral nutrition action plan.

The 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 has brought the realization that Africa is the only region in the world where the number of stunted children has risen steadily in the past few years. The continent loses $25 billion per year in cost attributed to child morbidity and mortality, impaired cognitive, physical and economic development caused by malnutrition though these losses can be prevented. The action plan seeks not only to increase productivity but also nourish Africa by including commodity value chains that offer broad-based nutrition value, instead of just calories.

This plan would help Africa develop; nutrition is a necessary aspect for development on the continent. Africa has the potential to become a powerhouse of productivity in the 21st century, but these issues of high rates of stunting must be addressed first. An unhealthy country cannot develop as most of its resources would be spent trying to ensure the welfare of its citizens whom it might eventually lose. Hence, investments must be made in the nutrition value of Africa in order to realize its human and economic potential.

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