AFRICA – The African Union Commission, African Development Bank (AfDB) and global partners have launched the Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard to raise awareness and help in curbing malnutrition.

The nutrition assessment kit encompasses key nutrition indicators, including internationally agreed nutrition targets, specific and sensitive interventions, policy and legal provisions, nutrition financing and socio-economic impacts.

Speaking during the launch, His Majesty King Letsie III of the Kingdom of Lesotho and African Union Champion for Nutrition said that the scorecard seeks to reinforce the commitments and nutrition programme investments aimed at addressing malnutrition.

“As responsible leaders, the onus is on us to take action for the wellbeing of the African people. We need to take appropriate and decisive actions now rather than later,” he added.

The scorecard was produced by the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative (ALN) in partnership with Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, noted that addressing malnutrition remains a key pillar to the African countries’ drive for economic growth.

“While it is obvious that a road and a port can add to improved trade and economic growth, it is often not recognized that stunting shrinks the size of the brain and therefore compromises the current and future economic growth of nations,” he said.

During the launch of the scorecard, stakeholders called for more interventions to curb the problem including increased funding by the governments for the multi-sectoral nutrition plans.

According to Jennifer Blanke, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank, the scorecard is part of a sustainable approach for the continent’s nutritional goals.

The Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard recommends enhanced empowerment of women and adolescent girls and the provision of nutritional support especially during pregnancy and early childhood.

“Over time, the Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard will expand in depth, data and usefulness, and will help to identify solutions to mitigate the burden of malnutrition that has impeded the continent for the past few decades,” she added.

ALN, which is headquartered at AFDB, targets the highest levels of African governments to build advocacy for improving nutrition across the continent.

Malnutrition in Africa remains a major challenge to its development, with the continent recording the highest numbers of malnutrition cases rising to 58.7 million from 50.6 million in 2000 according to data from United Nations.