The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, on Monday, May 23, signed a new partnership agreement on promoting nutrition in Africa with Jamie Cooper, Chair of Big Win Philanthropy, and Zouera Youssoufou, CEO of the Dangote Foundation.
The partnership was reached at the Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings in Lusaka and will boost economic returns from the AfDB’s US $33-billion investment portfolio by reprogramming suitable investments in sectors ranging from agriculture to education, to generate nutritional benefit for children.
Better child nutrition is crucial for Africa’s future economic growth. Children who lack key nutrients in the 1,000 days from conception to the age of two become permanently stunted – being shorter, weaker and less cognitively able. This costs Africa around 11% in lost GDP. Children who are properly nourished grow up to earn 20% more, and good nutrition will help develop Africa’s growing youth population into a more productive workforce that can secure the economic benefit of a demographic dividend.
The new partnership will provide US $2 million to enable the Bank to better serve countries for their nutrition agenda. It will strengthen the African Development Bank’s capacity to unlock the nutrition potential of existing investments by making them more “nutrition smart”. This will involve action across multiple sectors – for example in agriculture, by fortifying crops, and in education, by teaching nutrition. The work of the partnership will provide a situation analysis, a multi-sectoral nutrition strategy, tools such as training to integrate nutrition deeper into the Bank’s work, and a framework for monitoring and evaluation.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, said, “It is clear that the first 1,000 days from conception to the development of the child is crucial with regards to nutrition. We need to lead the charge where nutrition is the outcome of development.”
Jamie Cooper, Chair of Big Win Philanthropy, said, “Nutrition is one of a set of key investments in human development that together are just as important as investments in infrastructure and power in bringing about economic growth. Big Win Philanthropy is thrilled with President Adesina’s leadership at the African Development Bank in giving greater priority to nutrition and the wider human capital investment agenda. We are pleased to be working with the Dangote Foundation to support his vision.”
Zouera Youssoufou, CEO of the Dangote Foundation, said, “Mour Foundation’s vision is one where no child should suffer and die of under nutrition, but rather have a fighting chance to survive, thrive and be a positive contributor to society. This why we are focusing a significant amount of our resources to implement solutions, and why this partnership with the African Development Bank and Big Win Philanthropy is so important to us.”