July 15, 2024
Banking on nutrition: Akinwumi Adesina’s reappointment to SUN Movement Lead Group boosts malnutrition-free world by 2030
AfDB
– By Godswill Odiong

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African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) President Akinwumi A. Adesina has welcomed his reappointment by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group (https://apo-opa.info/3oXCYiH), a distinguished team of 22 global leaders dedicated to eradicating global malnutrition in all its forms by 2030.

The announcement, made on 1 June, reflects the commitment of these nutrition champions to address malnutrition, a significant international problem.

Secretary-General Guterres commended the members of the SUN Movement’s Lead Group for their dedication: “These global leaders are championing country-led efforts to scale up nutrition and to deliver for girls, boys and their families a world free from malnutrition by 2030… I believe that the approach of the SUN Movement to tackle malnutrition through a country-owned, multisectoral and multi-stakeholder approach is more crucial than ever before.”

Adesina said he was “greatly honored” by his appointment. “I look forward to helping to deliver on this agenda,” he said.

The African Development Bank is actively engaged in addressing child undernutrition and stunting, which affects 216 million children in Africa. Poor nutrition—linked to nearly half of all child fatalities in Africa—also imposes an economic toll that costs the continent 11% of its gross domestic product.

Adesina advocates for parallel investment in Africa’s “grey matter infrastructure” alongside physical infrastructure. The term “grey matter” refers to the brain’s region involved in cognitive function and other critical operations.

The Bank’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan 2018–2025, a catalyst for nutrition-focused investments across various sectors, aims to reduce stunting in Africa by 40% by 2025. To date, the Bank has reallocated $2.8 billion of its investment portfolio to nutrition-smart initiatives.

The Bank has also partnered with the African Union Commission to launch the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) (https://apo-opa.info/42towNa) initiative, a forum for current and former leaders, finance ministers, and first ladies to promote nutrition in Africa. ALN’s Presidential Dialogue Group, involving Big Win Philanthropy and the governments of Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Niger, and Tanzania among others, is working to tackle stunting in the worst-affected African countries.

Bank nutrition initiatives form part of the Bank’s broader Feed Africa strategy, key to transforming Africa into a net food exporter.

In January 2023, the Bank and the Senegalese government co-hosted the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit which has since mobilized over $70 billion to enhance food and agriculture production in Africa. Additionally, 41 African countries presented “Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts” outlining a nutrition-sensitive roadmap to bolster food security.

The African Development Bank is a signatory of the Abidjan II Agreement, committing to collaborate with the African Union Commission, the Foundation for African Agricultural Research, and the Centres for Global International Agricultural Research. This partnership strives to enhance Africa’s resilience to food crises by fortifying agricultural research and innovation systems at national, sub-regional, and continental levels.

First appointed to the SUN Movement Lead Group in 2016, Adesina joins other esteemed members including Ambassador Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commission Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment; Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada; and Pierre Cooke Jr., the Prime Minister of Barbados’ Youth Parliament and Technical Advisor, Healthy Caribbean Coalition.

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