A NEW vision for a high-level effort to scale up investment in nutrition across Africa with the potential to result in US$83 billion in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), has been outlined by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition (GPAFSN).
The new analysis released by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, which showed increased investments to meet the World Health Organisation assembly target of reducing stunting by 40 percent by 2025, could add $83 billion in additional GDP growth in just 15 sub-Saharan African countries.
AfDB president Dr. Akinwumi Adesina observed the need to invest in ‘‘gray matter infrastructure’’ to empower people out of poverty.
Dr Adesina said nutrition was not just a health and social development issue but an investment that shaped economic growth for all African nations.
“Nutrition is not just a health and social development issue; it is an investment that shapes economic growth for all African nations. When the growth of our children is stunted today—the growth of our economies will be stunted tomorrow. But when Africa’s children are nourished and can grow and earn their full potential, we will be able to unleash the potential of the entire continent,” he said.
Dr. Adesina and Mr John Kufuor, the former Ghanaian President and co-chair of the Global Panel, outlined their intent to create the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN).
Mr Kufuor said ALN would be an opportunity for Heads of State and ministers for nutrition to use their actions to invest in the nutrition sector.
“The ALN is not only about health, but it is also about economics. The potential gains are significant and lasting. That’s why we’re calling on leaders across Africa to join us in elevating the issue of nutrition on the continent and to make investment a priority,” he said.
And former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan, chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation, said malnutrition remained a major barrier to development in many African nations.
He said one of the most critical steps which could be taken to achieving nutrition security was to transform the continent’s agricultural sector because it was not just about the amount of food grown but the type of food eaten.
The event also featured remarks from nutrition champions Jamie Cooper, chair and president of the Big Win Philanthropy, and a representative from the Dangote Foundation, on the importance of public private partnerships.