from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – AFRICAN leaders are racing against time to end malnutrition and stunting by 2025.
Speaking at the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) session during the 33rd African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, leaders drawn from all 55 African countries acknowledged the scope of the challenge but sounded a note of optimism.
“We can conquer hunger in Africa,” said Madagascar’s President, Andry Rajoelina.
Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, said leaders should take it a step further.
“I have proposed for the AU to focus on tackling malnutrition as a theme for 2021,” he said.
The leaders are pinning their hopes on stunting having declined by 8 percent across Africa since 2000.
African countries have also shown strong progress towards achieving the target of 50 percent of the world’s children being exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life.
The other targets aimed are halting obesity, reducing anemia in women and lowering low birth weight.
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), said hunger was unjustifiable considering 65 percent of the world’s remaining uncultivated arable land is in Africa.
The continent also has an abundance of fresh water and sunshine a year.
“There’s no reason for anyone to go hungry,” Adesina said.
The meeting also offered recommendations for governments to strengthen African nutrition outcomes.
South Africa has assumed the chairmanship of the AU with its reign set to focus on ending numerous conflicts in Africa.
This is under the AU’s agenda of “Silencing the Guns” by 2021. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the AU chairman for the next 12 months.
– CAJ News