The African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, hosted a high-level meeting on nutrition in Lusaka, Zambia, 23 May 2016. The meeting outlined a vision for a new effort and shared new data strengthening the economic case for higher investment in nutrition across Africa.
At the event, Global Panel Co-Chair H.E. John Kufuor and Panel member Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, announced the formation of the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) to bring together leaders from across the continent to champion an increase investment in nutrition. They were joined by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and other leaders from philanthropy and the private sector. This initiative was an outcome of the Global Panel’s Roundtable meeting in Accra, November 2015.
The event “Achieving Nutrition Security: A call for leadership, partnership, and investment” took place on the opening day of the AfDB Annual Meeting in Lusaka. Addressing the meeting, President Kufuor stressed the importance of nutrition in nurturing human resources for development, explaining that good nutrition for women during pregnancy and lactation as well as during the first 1000 days for the newborn child is critical in determining the extent of human growth and power for the future of the child.
President Kufuor called on African leaders to make investment in nutrition a priority because that will eventually determine the human resource power of the continent. With a number of ministers of finance from African countries present, the former president appealed to them to carry the message to their presidents and share with colleague ministers, stressing that the approach should be multi-sectoral.
He also called on African leaders and governments to “join in elevating the issue of nutrition on the continent and to make investment a priority. Political will and commitment from the highest level is crucial for success,” he said.