The president of the Republic of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré, is now officially a champion of the "African Leaders for Nutrition" (ALN) initiative, after being presented with his mission plan on Thursday 16 May by the African Development Bank's Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, Oley Dibba-Wadda.
The ceremony took place in the presidential palace of Kosyam, in Ouagadougou, attended by Pascal Yembiline, the Bank's Country Director for Burkina Faso and other officials.
"I would like to extend my thanks to the African Development Bank and to its president for choosing me to take part in the ALN initiative, in order to make nutrition an important part of the work of our government," President Kabore said. "I want to assure you of my personal and my country's commitment to make an unwavering contribution to nutrition advocacy."
The ALN initiative is a platform for high-level advocacy and engagement to advance nutrition in Africa, endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Governments of the African Union (AU). It is led by ALN Champions, comprising current and former Heads of State, Finance Ministers and eminent leaders recognized for their ability to catalyze and sustain efforts to end malnutrition in Africa.
"On behalf of President Akinwumi Adesina, I would like to thank you for establishing a sectoral strategy to combat malnutrition in your country. We welcome you to the African Leaders for Nutrition team," Dibba-Wadda said after handing over the documents.
"We hope you will raise policy makers' awareness about nutrition and to take this subject to the highest level in our countries."
Under the mission directives, in August, the new ALN champion is expected to travel to Japan in to share Burkina Faso's nutrition efforts at the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD).
President Kabore will also chair the presentation of the second continental dashboard on nutrition responsibility at the African Union Summit planned for January 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This will be an opportunity to launch a call to action to engage other African heads of State to accelerate implementation of continental and global nutrition goals.
Finally, at a national level, the ALN proposes that Kabore adopt the National Nutrition Policy and organize a round table to mobilize resources for nutrition. President Kaboré will mobilize financial resources in the national budget, taking nutrition-sensitive sectors into account and appoint a political focal point to support the work of the Food and Nutrition Technical Secretariat. This focal point will work closely with the ALN secretariat based at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan.
"Resources can only be mobilized if we show that we are working hard ourselves. So, our country will work at budget level to do the work and we are counting on the Bank to help us achieve our goals. We promise that when it is time to assess outcomes, Burkina Faso will have played its part," President Kaboré said.