The governments of the African countries need to give their efforts in fighting against stunting and improve nutrition across the continent. The experts of African Development Bank believe that the results would be a win-win situation for all with the supports from the institutions like the bank.
"What a huge potential the food markets represent. "Feed Africa," which is one of the Bank's High 5 priorities, has nutrition at its core," Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human, and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke recently cited at a panel discussion on day two of the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD7).
The session, organised by the Global Panel on Agriculture & Food Systems for Nutrition (GPAN) & the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN), was titled "Ending Malnutrition in Africa: Towards Nutrition for Growth 2020 & Beyond." The conference was focused on Africa's economic transformation and the business environment through partnerships and increased cooperation with Japan.
The discussion on empowering women and girls highlighted how that directly benefits Africa's development agenda. Technology, access to finance, education and digital technology can help women leapfrog over many hurdles. "It is essential that women are empowered to become a vehicle for transforming society," Toshiko Abe, State Minister of Foreign Affairs in Japan cited. According to Jennifer Blanke, women in agriculture were an overlooked stakeholder group. In many parts of Africa most farmers are women.
The African nations, despite holding 60 percent of the planet's arable land, import nearly USD 50 billion net of food annually. Yet the population bulge and a rising middle class represent a massive opportunity in terms of agribusiness and the consumer market. The SMEs (Small and medium enterprises) in particular play a predominant role in the food supply chains in Africa, but their growth has been slow. "The biggest constraint to their scaling up is lack of access to finance," Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) said.
"There is a business case for governments to invest in grey matter, or brainpower, and this requires much more nutritious diets" Jennifer Blanke said.