AU states urge govts to improve nutrition, food security

AU states urge govts to improve nutrition, food security

By Temitope Ponle, Abuja.

 

African Union (AU) member states have called on governments to speed up investment, coordination and implementation of programmes to improve nutrition and food security in Africa.

 

In a statement issued on the website of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Friday, African leaders gathered for a three-day meeting to draw attention to the 2022 African Union Year of Nutrition.

 

The meeting ended with the signing of an “Abidjan Declaration”.

 

King Letsie III of Lesotho said: “This must be the time for Africa and its leadership to rise to the occasion and provide sustainable solutions to the malnutrition and hunger crisis (on the continent).”

 

Letsie III was speaking to attendees at an event organised by the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with AfDB’s African Leaders for Nutrition initiative, the AU Commission and several other partners.

 

Letsie III, who is the AU and African Leaders for Nutrition’s Champion, spoke about the organisation’s Executive Decision of July 2022.

 

The decision called for a multi-sectoral policy framework for addressing malnutrition, as well as financing targeted and high-level political commitment to end malnutrition in all its forms.

 

He commended the government of Côte d’Ivoire for its leadership on the nutrition agenda, including sponsoring of the AU Year of Nutrition.

 

Besides, the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki said: “It is not normal that Africans are underfed and malnourished. We need to develop our internal capacity to produce for indigenous needs.”

 

In his remarks, Vice-President of Cote d’Ivoire, Tiémoko Koné, called African leaders to action.

 

“The urgency for our continent is to save lives and offer better returns to our youngest, who represent the hope and the future of our community and nation,” he said.

 

Koné said that the government was committed to working with the AU, regional member countries, the AfDB and the African Leaders for Nutrition initiative and partners to improve nutrition targets.

 

“In this year of African nutrition, women, men and children will be the actors and the beneficiaries placed at the heart of development and progress.”

 

Furthermore, Dr Beth Dunford said that the African Leaders for Nutrition would be working with the AU Commission toward engendering greater impact out of the African Year of Nutrition.

 

Dunford is the Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, AfDB.

 

She stated that the African Leaders for Nutrition, hosted by the bank, aimed to increase financing resources for nutrition by mobilising African governments to adopt stronger policies and increase financing for nutrition.

 

“If we accelerate investments and improve coordination of efforts, Africa will advance nutrition and improve food security outcomes.

 

“The AfDB and the African Leaders for Nutrition remain committed to working with all of you, particularly the Government of Côte d’Ivoire, to see that this event’s deliberations are transformed into impactful commitments.”

 

The event focused on strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security in Africa.

 

Furthermore, the Declaration called for implementing and extending the AU roadmap beyond 2022.

 

The 2022 theme encourages member states to examine challenges posed by hunger and malnutrition and identify actions and strategies to address them.

 

The ceremony drew many senior African leaders, including Zambian Vice-President Mutale Nalumango; and Deputy Prime Minister of Congo-Brazzaville Anatole Makosso.

 

Other leaders were Rwandan Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources Gerardine Mukeshimana, and Côte d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister Patrick Achi.

 

There were also several ministers representing nutrition-sensitive sectors such as agriculture, water sanitation and hygiene, health, education and social protection.

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