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Dangote Foundation, AfDB unveil plan to boost child nutrition, fight stunting

Working with Big Win Philanthropy and Aliko Dangote Foundation, the African Development Bank on Thursday, has unveiled a new Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan that aims at raising investments towards reducing stunting by 40% in African children aged under 5 by 2025.
Africa loses $25 billion per year in costs attributed to child morbidity and mortality, impaired cognitive, physical, and economic development caused by malnutrition. Yet these losses are almost entirely preventable.
The ambitious Action Plan is looking for additional support and commitments from governments for nutrition.
Vice-President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development at the African Development Bank, stressed the importance of engaging energetically and substantially with the private sector, “if we want to achieve long-lasting results.”
Through the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan the Bank commits to scale up the proportion of investments that are ‘nutrition-smart’ in agriculture, water, sanitation and hygiene, social and health sectors.
“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,” said Jamie Cooper, Chair and President, Big Win Philanthropy.
“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.”
Nutrition is inextricably linked to the Bank’s High 5 priorities: nutrition-smart investments could be catalytic for realizing equitable growth agenda.
Speaking at the launch, 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.”
In 2017, more than a third of the world’s stunted children under the age of five lived in Africa with stunting rates ranging from 35.6% in East Africa to 32.1%, 29.9%, 29.1%, and 17.3% in Central Africa, West Africa, Southern Africa and Northern Africa respectively, according to the Plan, which also revealed that Africa is the only region in the world where the number of stunted children has risen in the past few years.
The Plan will focus on integrating nutrition smart interventions into projects in the Bank’s extensive agriculture pipeline. The Bank’s Feed Africa Strategy executes the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals of contributing to elimination of extreme hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. In addition to improved productivity, the Action Plan looks into the potential to nourish Africa, by including commodity value chains that offer broad-based nutrition value, instead of just calories.