The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, says 39 per cent of world’s stunted children and 28 per cent of the world’s wasted children are in Africa.
Adesina who disclosed this at the African Leaders for Nutrition High-Level Dinner for Heads of State at Addis Ababa, said Africa was the only continent where the number of stunted children had increased over the last two decades.
He added the stunted children in Africa had increased to 58.5 million in 2018, from 50.3 million at the turn of the century.
“They are prone to inhibited intellectual and physical growth, and sometimes even premature death. These are not just statistics. These are people. Our children. Like I have always said, stunted children in Africa today means stunted economies tomorrow. We know that a loss in adult height by just one percent due to childhood stunting can lead to a 1.4 percent loss in economic productivity”.
Adesina said it was because of this development, the bank set up the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) where it brought together Heads of State, Finance Ministers, and other eminent leaders.
He added that the aim of bringing these leaders together was to raise awareness, ensure accountability, and reinforce investment by African governments to end malnutrition among children.
According to him, a lot has been achieved since it kicked off at the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union held in Addis Ababa, in February 2019.
“We inaugurated the Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard at the African Union Summit in February 2019. We provided Heads of State with a snapshot of progress and areas where the action is needed to meet the agreed nutrition goals.
“And Data which enables us to maintain the good, and improve where we can do better. As the late Kofi Annan once said ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t solve it.’
“The bank will continue to work with all of you to design and implement investments to eradicate malnutrition in all its forms and promote safe, affordable, accessible and healthier diets.
“That is why the AfDB also inaugurated the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to help scale up Africa’s agricultural productivity by delivering high yielding and nutritious seed varieties such as water-efficient maize, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes and high iron beans” he added.