President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwumi Adesina says the cost of malnutrition is too huge for Africa to ignore.
Speaking at a side event on “Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure: Addressing Africa’s Nutrition Challenges” at the ongoing annual meetings of the Bank, Adesina disclosed that stunting alone costs Africa $25 billion per year.
“We have way above 280 million people in Africa that are malnourished and it doesn’t make sense really, when you take a look at the amount of kids that are actually stunted, it is even more mind-boggling. We have 58 million kids that are stunted…” Adesina said.
He admonished African leaders to realise that if the continent has stunted kids today, it would have a stunted economy tomorrow. Adesina observed the need to change the approach on how to deal with the continent’s nutritional challenges in recognition of the huge economic ramifications for the future.
In his contribution, the President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, applauded AfDB’s initiatives aimed at improving nutrition on the continent. He emphasized the need for inclusivity in the nutrition transformation agenda. “The World Food Prize is in full support of your efforts,” he added. He, however, noted that women must not be left behind in the transformation agenda.
For Muhammad Ali Pate, CEO of Big Win Philanthropy, “we can’t say Africa is rising when half of our children are stunted.”
By Pita Ochai