AFRICA – African leaders have called on the U.S. government and the international community to prioritize nutrition in global frameworks and policies, as well as increase investments in nutrition in Africa.

On the sidelines of the United States Africa Summit, the leaders highlighted opportunities for collaboration between the United States and African countries to address nutrition challenges on the continent.

The U.S. government announced a commitment of US$760 million to expand and strengthen agricultural programs that support farmers and communities around the world affected by rising food, fuel prices, and fertilizer.

Isobel Coleman, Deputy Administrator of the United States Agency for Development. internationally (USAID) said: “With sufficient targeted resources and simple, evidence-based interventions, this [malnutrition] crisis is not only treatable but preventable. Last year alone, USAID supported nutrition programs that reached more than 25 million children with nutrition-specific interventions in 21 African countries.

With bipartisan support from Congress, the U.S. government is committing US$760 million to expand and intensify agricultural programs that support farmers and communities around the world rocked by rising food, fuel, and fertilizers. As Covid-19, climate change, and Vladimir Putin’s war on the people of Ukraine continue to undermine food systems. It is up to all of us to continue our efforts to feed the world.”

Ms. Beth Dunford, Vice President in charge of Agriculture and Human and Social Development who represented the African Development Bank at the summit, stressed the urgency of ensuring “affordable, safe and nutritious foodstuffs to face the crisis of the hunger, malnutrition, and starvation experienced by many parts of the African continent”.

Strong health systems capable of supporting those most vulnerable to malnutrition–women, adolescents, and children–are also essential,” she added.

According to Ms. Dunford, the African Development Bank (AFDB) has increased its resources dedicated to tackling malnutrition-related problems in Africa.

Over the past four years, AFDB has reallocated US$2.8 billion from its investment portfolio to “smart” initiatives nutrition”, which means that the projects it funds will have one or more nutrition-related objectives, a nutrition-related activity or intervention, and a nutrition-related outcome or impact indicator.

The Prime Minister of Lesotho, Ntsokoane Matekane, reaffirmed that the African Year of Nutrition is an opportunity to measure the progress made and define the additional measures to be implemented to fight against child malnutrition.

He noted that several regional commitments have been made within the framework of the African Year of Nutrition, which recently resulted in the Abidjan Declaration, adopted on December 8, 2022, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The declaration calls for accelerated investment, implementation, and coordination to improve nutrition and food security in Africa.

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