AFRICA – Malnutrition continues to rob generations of Africans of the chance to grow to their full physical and cognitive potential, hugely impacting health outcomes and economic development.
In 2020, 61.4 million African children were registered as stunted, with Africa being the only region where the number of stunted children has risen and 40% of all stunted children in the world live on the African continent.
To address this crisis, the African Development Bank has been committed to scaling up the proportion of its investments that are nutrition-smart in the agriculture, water, sanitation, hygiene, social protection, health, and education sectors.
This it has been doing through its Banking on Nutrition Partnership launched in 2015 in partnership with the Aliko Dangote Foundation and Big Win Philanthropy.
The Partnership has demonstrated its effectiveness through numerous initiatives and programs such as support for Ethiopia’s Seqota Declaration – a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030.
The African Development Bank approved US$48 million in funding for the Government of Ethiopia’s Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP).
“We need urgent action from all sectors to rise and renew commitment towards nutrition to help speed up the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate achievement of nutrition targets.”Zouera Youssoufou – CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation
Positive results of the Banking on Nutrition Partnership include integration of nutrition into 18% of African Development Bank projects, with 21% of project interventions prioritizing focus on women and children.
Also US$2.3 billion has been allocated to nutrition-smart and the Bank surpassed its 2025 targets of 15% and 10% nutrition-smart investments in the WASH and social protection sectors respectively.
Following the remarkable progress achieved, AfDB, ADF and Big Win have renewed their commitment to end child stunting and other forms of malnutrition through the Banking on Nutrition Partnership.
“The Bank is relentless in pursuing bold targets to unlock Africa’s human and economic potential. It is our aim to inspire other actors to recognize nutrition as central to that agenda,” said Dr. Beth Dunford, Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development Complex, African Development Bank in her opening address.
“We need urgent action from all sectors to rise and renew commitment towards nutrition to help speed up the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate achievement of nutrition targets,” she added.
In its next phase, the Banking on Nutrition Partnership will prioritize 10 countries using the African Development Bank’s Grey Matter Infrastructure Investment Index, a criterion based on country rankings centered on their stunting burden and borrowing headroom.
These countries include Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Sudan, Madagascar, Kenya, Burundi, Mali, and Burkina Faso.
“When we have a practical result driven success story based on partnership, it is important to showcase it”, said Zouera Youssoufou, CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation.
“The value of the Partnership is for all of us to come together and look at how to incorporate nutrition more deliberately as part of a comprehensive protective wall of immunity around people from the inside and out,” Joel Spicer, CEO of Nutrition International reiterated.
The partners have also hammered on implementation of the project within the African Development Bank and its Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan, as well as measures to encourage other organizations and development banks to integrate nutrition into their portfolios.
Launched in 2018, the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan 2018-2025 is an ambitious plan to leverage additional financial resources through nutrition smart investments across sectors such health, agriculture, WASH, social protection and education to support a 40% stunting reduction across the continent by 2025.
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