When Africa’s children are well-nourished and can grow, learn and earn their full potential, we will be able to unleash prosperity in the entire continent

Dr. Akinwuni A. Adesina,  African Development Bank group's president

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Nutrition Facts for Africa

  • A stunted child experiences impaired growth as a result of prolonged malnutrition

  • In 2017, more than one third of stunted children under the age of five lived in Africa. The prevalence of stunting in children under the age of five varies by region. Sub-Saharan Africa shows a higher prevalence (33.9%) in comparison with North Africa:


  • The consequences of stunting are irreversible, particularly on grey matter infrastructure and the physical development of children, making children less likely to reach their full productive potential. Grey matter infrastructure is the brainpower of a population—with “grey matter” referring to brain tissue. Reference: Levels and Trends in Child Malnutrition
  • Africa loses $25 billion per year to costs attributed to child illnesses and deaths, impaired cognitive development and physical under-development caused by malnutrition. Reference: Cost of Hunger in Africa Studies
  • Investing in nutrition is cost-effective, and critical for Africa’s economic and human capital development. For every $1 invested in nutrition, there is a $16 return on investment in health, education and productivity outcomes. Reference: An Investment Framework for Nutrition
  • The most critical time to invest in nutrition is during the first 1,000 days – from conception to 24 months of age – a crucial period for growth, and the development of the brain and the immune system. Reference: Maternal and child undernutrition and overweight in low-income and middle-income countries