The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have called for the creation of a high-level body: African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) champions the implementation of diverse policies and interventions to address malnutrition in all its forms though agriculture, the food system, and other areas. Working together with the Gates Foundation, they developed this new initiative which was presented by President Akin Adesina at the AfDB’s annual meeting in Lusaka in May 2016.

The Global Panel commissioned a working paper to highlight why, from an economic perspective, interventions that prevent malnutrition are excellent investments. (Go to the paper)

SUMMARY OF KEY FINDINGS

Watch Bill Gates welcoming the formation of the ALN and its potential impact through increased nutrition investments

Watch Kofi Annan praising the effort while highlighting the role agriculture can play in defeating malnutrition

The need for ALN

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the African Development Bank (AfDB) believe that the time is now right for Africa to elevate the issue of nutrition on the continental and global agenda[1]. New financial and policy commitments on nutrition have the potential to deliver a wide range of economic, health and social returns.

In Africa, the extent of the challenge is deep and far-reaching.  For example, 58 million children under the age of five are stunted, 13.9 million are wasted and 8 per cent of adults over 20 are obese.  Furthermore, over 160 million children and women of reproductive age are anaemic[2].  Despite Africa’s recent rapid growth, malnutrition in its many forms remains one of the main barriers which prevents the continent and its citizens from realising their full potential.  By acting now to combat malnutrition decisively and swiftly, significant progress can be made towards Africa’s future sustainable economic success and to its enhanced social and environmental wellbeing.

The economic case for nutrition as a primary lever for economic growth in Africa is compelling. For instance, in general, every dollar invested in scaling up nutrition in LMICs yields 16 in benefits[3] and malnourished children go on to earn 20% less as adults than their well-nourished peers.  Estimates suggest that in low- and middle-income countries, the impact of malnutrition decreases GDP by between 2% and 11%.

As a group of influential leaders, the ALN will encourage heads of state, finance ministers, and business leaders to increase investment in nutrition in their countries. 

Timeline

23 May 2017 - Promoting grey matter infrastructure is a game-changer in Africa’s development agenda (AfDB)

23 May 2017 - Stunted growth costing Africa $25bn a year, says development bank (Public Finance International)

8 March 2017 - Country Scorecards: Accountability for Better Results (The Chicago Council: Global Food for Thought blog)

18 October 2016 - Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: The AfDB plays a greater role in promoting nutrition accountability and grey matter infrastructure (AfDB)

17 October 2016 - Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: African Leaders Meet in Abidjan to Invest in Nutrition (AllAfrica)

23 May 2016 - Lusaka, Zambia: On the opening day of the AfDB Annual Meeting, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, outlined the formation of the African Leaders for Nutrition. Learn more

17 April 2016 - Washington DC: African Development Bank President Adesina calls for the end of malnutrition in Africa at the Invest in Nutrition Event and names the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative as a way forward in meeting this challenge:

15 March 2016 - Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: Colleagues from the African Development Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition met to discuss African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative at the African Development Bank’s headquarters. Learn more


[1] The  African Leaders for Nutrition initiative was proposed at the Global Panel’s High Level Round Table in Accra, November 2016.
[2] [3] Global Nutrition Report 2015. Africa brief