The African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and global partners have inaugurated the Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard to raise awareness and end malnutrition, APA said Tuesday.
The Media Relations Officer of the AfDB, Mr. Solange Kamuanga-Touassou, said in Abuja on Monday that the event was also to reinforce commitments by African governments to help wipe out malnutrition from the continent.
He disclosed that the programme was co-hosted by the President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina and His Majesty King Letsie III, of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
The AfDB official said the event was on the sidelines of the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of States and Governments of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa.
He quoted Adesina as urging the leaders not to fold their arms and do nothing while African economies crippled.
“We can no longer afford to watch helplessly as our economies get crippled and suffer stagnation owing to hunger and malnutrition. As responsible leaders, the onus is on us to take action.
“We must change how we look at the problem of malnutrition. The greatest contributor to economic growth is not physical infrastructure, but brainpower, what I refer to as ‘grey matter infrastructure’.
“While it is obvious that a road and a port can add to improved trade and economic growth, it is often not recognised that stunting shrinks the size of the brain and therefore compromises the current and future economic growth of nations,” he said.
He noted that Africa remains the only continent with high levels of malnutrition and which suffers slow progress to reverse the situation in comparison to the rest of the world.
“United Nations data indicates the number of stunted children in Africa, which increased sharply from 50.6 million in the year 2000 to 58.7 million in 2017.
“A growing body of evidence recognises that malnutrition and economic development are closely interlinked,” the statement quoted Adeshina as saying.
He stressed that poor nutrition was responsible for stunting children’s growth, harming their educational development and future economic prospects.
According to him, the programme aims to present key findings and recommendations, including calls on governments to increase budgetary allocations for multi-sectoral nutrition plans.