Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Africa Loses US$25 Billion To Malnutrition Annually - Adesina

President of the Africa Development Bank AfDB, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said that Africa loses about US$25 billion annually to malnutrition.

In a statement made available to our correspondent, Adesina made this revelation in Abidjan at the 2017 Global Gathering to review progress in tackling malnutrition and share innovations as well as best practices to drive progress.

He said although there is food surplus in the world, about 800 million people still live in extreme poverty and hunger globally with about 1.3 billion tonnes of food going to waste every year.

He however stated that "we need to ensure that community based nutrition systems are

Strengthened, that we enhance general food safety, especially in the informal food markets that dominate most African cities".

Also speaking, the United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, Executive Director, Anthony Lake, who serves as chair of the Scaling Up Nutrition, SUN, Movement Lead Group said, there are 10 million fewer children who are stunted today than there were when the SUN movement started seven years ago, but millions of children are still being left behind.

He said, "to end malnutrition in all its forms, we need to expand our work including by deepening our focus on children trapped in humanitarian emergencies and addressing the growing obesity epidemic that disproportionately affects the most disadvantaged children in every society and integrate our efforts with other development sectors, breaking down the silos that limit our progress".

Speaking earlier in her opening remarks, coordinator of the SUN Movement, Gerda Verburg, stated that while progress has been made on under nutrition, more needs to be done as good nutrition is integral to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals

According to Veburg, "the SUN Global gathering is for us to inspire each other and about getting the food systems right. Nutrition is important for education, health, the economy and to improve the GDP. We need to find instruments to build collaboration focused on impacts and results and to build partnerships with the private sector. The challenge of under- nutrition and obesity is one that behoves on us to build bridges between countries dealing with these issues to address them".

Speaking at plenary on how monitoring, evaluation, accountability and the learning can shape the SUN Movement, Project Director of the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria’s, CSSUNN, Beatrice Eluaka, said it has stimulated cross border exchange of information, knowledge, innovations, integrated approaches across  African countries  towards addressing malnutrition.

Sharing her experiences during the learning route in Rwanda, she said, "we met local champions at the community level who were addressing issues of malnutrition, saw public private partnership as well as multi-sectoral collaboration and coordination at work, and developed our innovative plans aimed at addressing malnutrition on returning home. We have also established regional hubs and platforms for regular virtual meetings and exchange of information. One major fall-out from the Learning Route Rwanda was a Creativity Collaboration Award which for instance, saw Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone recently collaborating to develop a guide for stakeholder mapping to be used in West Africa".

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