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Remarks by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group at the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group Meeting, New York, September 24, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to thank the UN Secretary General António Guterres, for appointing me as a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Leadership Group. There’s nothing more important than helping to end malnutrition and stunting in the world.
Malnutrition limits human abilities, productivity and life expectancy. Stunting impairs the brain, diminishing cognitive ability. And stunting hurts economic growth. Stunted children today will lead to stunted economies tomorrow.
We must see ending stunting as building “grey matter infrastructure”.
Despite gains that have been made, the total number of stunted children in Africa rose from 50 million to 58 million between 2000-2018.
The African Development Bank, as part of its Feed Africa strategy, is driving several measures to help end stunting and malnutrition.
Let me share a few with you...
Through its “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)” initiative, the Bank and it’s partners have helped to scale up bio-fortification, with High Iron beans in Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central Africa Republic. We’ve supported the wider use of Orange Flesh Sweet Potato in Ghana and Uganda.
TAAT helped to deliver last year drought tolerant water-efficient maize to 2.5 million farmers across the Southern Africa region that had to deal with droughts, assuring food security for them.
Through TAAT’s consortium, 120 bio- fortified varieties of crops have been released to farmers. Today, over 30 million people are already benefiting from bio-fortified crops with evidence of reduction in iron deficiency, night blindness and diarrheal disease.
The African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) launched by the Bank and the African Union - in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Big Win Philanthropy and the Global Panel for Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition - and approved by all African Heads of State - has moved nutrition to the highest political levels in Africa.
The Continental Nutrition Accountability Scorecard is helping to drive political accountability on nutrition. The Bank will support Ethiopia’s Sequota Declaration, a bold effort to end stunting of children under two years by 2030.
The Bank’s multi-sectoral nutrition action plan, launched last year focuses on increasing the production and consumption of safe, diverse and nutritious foods, to help reduce number of stunted children by 40% by 2025.
From our investments in water, health and sanitation and hygiene last year, our work benefited some 12.5 million people, boosting success rates for nutrition efforts.
The African Development Bank is doing a lot on nutrition and will continue to work closely with the SUN to scale up our work job nutrition in Africa.
But my passion and commitment goes beyond my work as President of the African Development Bank. Tackling global hunger and malnutrition is a personal life mission.
At a personal level, I have just launched my own Foundation, the “World Hunger Fighters Foundation”, established with the Prize monies I received from my World Food Prize and the SunHak Peace Prize, respectively.
The World Hunger Fighters Foundation will support and develop young global leaders to help end global hunger and malnutrition. The first set of Fellows, called “Borlaug-Adesina Fellows”, named after the late Nobel Prize winner Dr. Norman Borlaug, who was my mentor, will be announced at the World Food Prize in Iowa next month.
Ending global hunger and malnutrition is my life mission, not a job.
I humbly accept the mission call to duty as a member of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Lead Group.
I will not rest until we end global hunger and malnutrition - most especially in Africa. So help me God!
Thank you very much.