Invest in nutrition for growth
The need for substantial investments to improve the level of nutrition for African infants and children, was highlighted at a discussion at the African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Lusaka this week.
The meeting, in partnership with the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, outlined a vision for a new high-level effort and shared new data strengthening the economic case for investment in nutrition across Africa.
African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina hosted the discussion among influential leaders, philanthropists, and businesses on how Africa can achieve nutrition security through increased investments and public private partnerships.
“To empower people out of poverty, we must first invest in the gray matter infrastructure that will truly fuel this progress—the minds of our children. Nutrition is not just a health and social development issue, nutrition is an investment that shapes economic growth for all African nations,” said Dr Adesina. “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, learn, and earn their full potential, we will be able to unleash the potential of the entire continent.”
A new analysis released by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition shows increased investments to meet the World Health Assembly target of reducing stunting by 40% by 2025 could add US$83 billion in additional GDP growth in just 15 sub-Saharan African countries.
A new Africa-specific investment framework by the World Bank and Results for Development showing the costs to achieve the WHA stunting, wasting, anaemia and breastfeeding targets was also unveiled. Achieving these four global nutrition targets in sub-Saharan Africa would require an increased investment of approximately US$2.7 billion per year for 10 years. Meeting the targets would require increased investment of approximately US$1.8 billion per year from donors and US$750 million per year from African governments over the next decade.
The framework identifies that significant progress can be made by starting with investment in a subset of high-priority, most cost-effective interventions, including Vitamin A supplementation, supportive breastfeeding policies, and food fortification.