10 November 2017

Expert Group Meeting On Reducing Child Stunting in Africa

Addis Ababa — AUC, ECA and WFP jointly organized a two-day Expert Group Meeting and Policy Forum on 'Reducing Child Stunting' on 9 - 10 November 2017.

The objective of the meeting was to take stock of the results of the Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) studies, identify lessons learned, share experiences, and deliberate on the challenges in mainstreaming nutrition into national budget and plan on the way forward on strategies and policies of nutrition to achieve sustainable development in Africa.

The report of the COHA studies undertaken in a total of 12 countries, namely, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, Rwanda, Swaziland and Uganda, was also launched during the meeting. The report shows that the countries are losing significant amount of money each year as a result of child undernutrition through increased costs in healthcare and the associated cost due to the additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity by its workforce. This ranges from 4.5 percent of GDP in DRC and 14.5 percent in Madagascar.

"The COHA study has drawn attention on child stunting in Africa, hence policy makers need to take action. It should not be a business as usual, as actions will need to be put in place. The meeting provides an opportunity to review policy landscape in different countries, said Ms. Thokozile Ruzvidzo, Director Social Development Policy Division, ECA. She further stressed that, "The expectations are to put strong policy advocacy and better integrated interventions on child stunting."

"Reduction of stunting is a concern of the African Heads of State and Government who noted the results of the Cost of Hunger Study during their Malabo 2014 Summit and made a call for action to bring down stunting to 10% and underweight to 5% from current levels, " said Dr. Laila B. Lokosang, CAADP Advisor, Food and Nutrition Security, AUC.

"Findings from the Cost of Hunger in Africa Study reports should generate required attention and action from our governments, to help achieve global and continental priorities articulated in the Agenda 2030 and Africa's Agenda 2063." said Ms. Wanja Kaaria, Deputy Director, WFP.

The meeting outcomes and recommendations will be useful to member states in implementing the Africa Regional Nutrition Strategy (2016 - 2025), and more so, in achieving the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2063 targets.

The COHA report is led by the African Union Commission (AUC), in partnership with African governments, the New Partnership for Africa's Development Planning and Coordinating Agency (NPCA); with the support of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.

For media inquiries and requests contact:

Wurie Bah, Africa Union Commission, Email: Bahw@africa-union.org, www.au.int

Sophia Denekew, UN Economic Commission for Africa, Email: denekews.uneca@un.org

Priscilla.Wanjiru, WFP/Addis Ababa, Email: priscilla.wanjiru@wfp.org Tel: +251-967-001-929, Web: www.wfp.org

Website: www.costofhungerafrica.com

Jointly issued by the ECA and the AUC

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