The African Development Bank will this week welcome a new African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) champion.
A Bank mission is visiting Burkina Faso from 14 to 17 May 2019 to induct President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré into the ALN. The mission will use the occasion to present ALN's progress and agree on a common nutrition roadmap for 2019-2020. The mission will be led by Oley Dibba-Wadda, director of human capital, youth and skills development.
Kaboré has been a leading advocate in the fight against malnutrition. In September 2018, he painted a bleak picture of the nutrition situation in his country and the Sahel region at a forum with the theme: "Let's not forget the women and children of the Sahel."
The ALN aims to rally high-level political support to end malnutrition, which has been a central focus for President Kaboré.
President Kaboré was recently appointed in the role by the ALN, set up in 2016 with the African Union and prominent personalities, among them the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.
"Nearly 40% of children living in the Sahel region suffer from stunted growth due to food shortages, infectious diseases, poor sanitation and lack of access to safe drinking water, among other factors. The impact of this situation is not only devastating to millions of children currently affected, but also to the region's productivity and human capital development," the Burkina Faso president said, calling for a new funding model to counter the socio-economic effects of this scourge.
Elected in 2015, Kaboré has made nutrition a national priority in his government's Economic and Social Development Programme. The Burkinabe government has set an ambitious nutrition target that aims to reduce the prevalence of stunting from 30.2% (2015) to 15% by 2020.
The multi-sector national strategic plan on nutrition emphasizes the first 1,000 days of a child's life.
In a country where climate change poses a major risk to nutrition, Kaboré allocated $1.8 million in 2017 to purchase nutritional inputs. In 2018, he increased this financial support to $2.7 million.
Overall, the prevalence of malnutrition has declined since 2009. The prevalence of underweight children (acute malnutrition) fell from 11.3% in 2009 to 7.6% and stunting (chronic malnutrition) from 35.1% to 27.3% over the same period. But there are still nutrition-related challenges with respect to global nutrition targets set for 2025.
Kaboré has called for smart investments in this domain by mobilizing development partners. In 2018, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation decided to contribute $45 million to the fight against malnutrition over three years for nutrition and family planning in Burkina Faso.