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Monday, June 5, 2023

Ending hunger in Africa by 2025: African countries urged to commit more financial resources

Story by Abigirl Tembo, Health Editor

Ten months after nutrition was made the theme of the African year, Several African ministers are meeting in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to track the progress made so far towards attaining the Malabo Declaration which speaks to ending hunger by 2025, ending child stunting and bringing down stunting to 10 percent and underweight to five percent by 2025 as well as continuing dialogue and strengthening advocacy in support of improved nutrition.

The Malabo Declaration runs until 2025.

Speaking at the high level dialogue on the theme of the African year, leaders and government ministers spoke on the need to redouble efforts in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.

Lesotho’s King Letsie III and African Union Nutrition champion said, “Millions of our people on our content continue to suffer the devastating effects of mulnutrition. Without adequate nutrition, human beings will never realise their full potential. Access to sufficient nutritional food has been adversely affected by a lot of things ranging from conflict to climate change. Recent statistics show that 61.4 milion children in Africa under 5 are stunted and 3 million wasted.

“We can no longer afford to lose precious lives. I urge our governments to redouble efforts that can end hunger and malnutrition. As we shape Africa’s nutrition agenda, we note that more still needs to be done. We are now aware that Africa has only 3 years to achieve the Malabo Declaration regarding stunted growth. We face the real risk of failing to reach these targets by 2030. Our member states need to commit more financial resources towards nutrition.”

African Union chairperson, His Excellency Moussa Faki Mahamat said, “Let’s grow our own healthy foods and consume them in Africa. Let’s make sure that this meeting answers the questions that millions of Africans are asking with regards to hunger and nutrition.”

Dr Beth Dunford, the African Development Bank Vice President noted, “The AFDB is committed to improving the African continent’ s nutrition and we have committed 2.8 billion for the continent to be nutrition smart. We want to mobilise African governments to improve their financing commitments. We want the African leaders to be nutrition champions and partners.”

Zimbabwe, according to the chairperson of the Cabinet Committee on Food and Nutrition, Vice President General (Retired) Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is being represented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, highlighted steps being taken by Zimbabwe in ensuring the nutrition needs of the country are met.

“We express our continued commitment towards advocating for allocations for social services to be nutrition sensitive. The promotion of nutrition sensitive social assistance and social protection is a strategy towards the improvement of the nutrition status of children in Zimbabwe. The Government of Zimbabwe has availed financial support towards the implementation of nutrition sensitive programming in the agriculture and food systems, social development, education and water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) systems.

“The recently pronounced budget highlighted the support for the establishment of productive economic activities around water sources by rural communities through village gardens, a source of nutrition and commerce, in the context of the new Rural Development 8.0 paradigm.

“To enhance climate-proofing of the vulnerable and ensuring food and nutrition security, Government is implementing the National Accelerated Irrigation Rehabilitation Programme, focusing on the rehabilitation and development, as well as maintenance of communal irrigation schemes. In addition, we are also implementing a nutrition sensitive Climate Smart Agriculture programme, the home-grown school feeding,” noted Dr Masuka.

As the curtain closes on the high level dialogue on the theme of the African year, notes have been exchanged and resolutions have been made to ensure the continent is back on track in meeting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on ending hunger and malnutrition.

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