At a Global Panel Meeting in Accra, in 2015, the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, Former President of Ghana, HE John A Kufuor, and President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwimi Adesina, called for the creation of a high-level body. African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) champions the implementation of diverse policies and interventions to address malnutrition in all its forms through agriculture, food systems, and other areas. Working together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, they developed this new initiative which was launched by President Akin Adesina on the margins of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union, on 29 January 2018.

The Global Panel commissioned a working paper to highlight why, from an economic perspective, interventions that prevent malnutrition are excellent investments. Summary of key findings. 

Bill Gates welcoms the formation of ALN

Kofi Annan highlights the role of agriculture in defeating malnutrition

African Leaders for Nutrition 

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition and the African Development Bank (AfDB) believe that the time is now right for Africa to elevate the issue of nutrition on the continental and global agenda[1]. New financial and policy commitments on nutrition have the potential to deliver a wide range of economic, health and social returns.

In Africa, the extent of the challenge is deep and far-reaching. 58 million children under the age of five are stunted, 13.9 million are wasted and 8% of adults over 20 are obese. Furthermore, over 160 million children and women of reproductive age are anaemic[2]. Despite Africa’s recent rapid growth, malnutrition in its many forms remains one of the main barriers which prevents the continent and its citizens from realising their full potential. By acting now to combat malnutrition decisively and swiftly, significant progress can be made towards Africa’s future sustainable economic success and to its enhanced social and environmental wellbeing.

The economic case for nutrition as a primary lever for economic growth in Africa is compelling. In general, every dollar invested in scaling up nutrition in LMICs yields a $16 return[3] and malnourished children go on to earn 20% less as adults than their well-nourished peers. Estimates suggest that in low- and middle-income countries, the impact of malnutrition decreases GDP by between 2% and 11%.

ALN Champions, in partnership with will discuss with Heads of State, philanthropists, development partners, private sector and other key stakeholders the role of good nutrition, promote accellerated investment and political leadership in addressing hunger and malnutrition challenges in Africa. They advocate for renewed commitments on nutrition that have the potential to deliver a wide range of economic, health and social returns.

On 29 January 2018, with a declaration of support from the African Union, the delegates endorsed a joint declaration, which officially formalised the ALN Initiative, and established this platform of influential leaders committed to fulfilling Africa's vision of a continent free from hunger and malnutrition. 

Timeline

9 March 2018 - African leaders aim to revive efforts to meet Global Nutrition Goals (Malnutrition Deeply)

28 February 2018 - Data can help to end malnutrition across Africa, by Kofi Annan. 

29 January 2018 - African leaders commit to overcome malnutrition, elevate nutrition as driver for economic growth.

29 January 2018 - Five steps to end malnutrition in Africa, by Kofi Annan.

26 January 2018 - Launch of the African Leaders for Nutrition initiative on the margins of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union.

23 May 2017 - Promoting grey matter infrastructure is a game-changer in Africa’s development agenda (AfDB)

23 May 2017 - Stunted growth costing Africa $25bn a year, says development bank (Public Finance International)

8 March 2017 - Country scorecards: accountability for better results (Chicago Council)

18 October 2016 - The AfDB plays a greater role in promoting nutrition accountability and grey matter infrastructure (AfDB)

17 October 2016 - African leaders meet in Abidjan to invest in nutrition (All Africa)

23 May 2016 - On the opening day of the AfDB Annual Meeting, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB, outlined the formation of the African Leaders for Nutrition. Learn more

17 April 2016 - African Development Bank President Adesina calls for the end of malnutrition in Africa at the Invest in Nutrition event and names the African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative as a way forward in meeting this challenge:

15 March 2016 - Colleagues from the African Development Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition met to discuss African Leaders for Nutrition Initiative at the African Development Bank’s headquarters. Learn more


[1] The African Leaders for Nutrition initiative was proposed at the Global Panel’s Annual Meeting in Accra, November 2015.
[2] [3] Global Nutrition Report 2015. Africa brief