On a recent trip to the island nation of Madagascar, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina invited Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina to become a Nutrition Champion and join the fight against stunting on the continent.
The call came as the two toured the newly renovated districts of Tsaramasay, Ankorondrano Andrefana and Ankorondrano Andranomahery, among the most disadvantaged areas around the capital Antananarivo. Adesina also attended an inauguration ceremony for the re-opening of the districts.
Following major rehabilitation undertaken by the government, life has changed tremendously for the inhabitants, dignity has been restored and the communities are taking responsibility for their living environment, President Rajoelina told Adesina.
The pilot project is part of a larger national rehabilitation plan. "With focus and determination, everything is possible," President Rajoelina noted.
Adesina commended Madagascar's President for the renovation programme and for giving hope to the local population.
"President Rajoelina has shown the will and passion to transform the country," Adesina said, reaffirming the Bank's continuous support to Madagascar.
A group of young singers, the Zaza Kanto, who put up an exciting performance at the inauguration ceremony, caught Adesina's attention, who used the opportunity to call for greater efforts to tackle malnutrition.
The creativity exhibited by the children represent hope, Adesina said. "If people have severe malnutrition, it has an impact on their brains. That is why we need to work on grey matter infrastructure."
Immediately after the visit, Adesina invited President Rajoelina to become a nutrition champion and join in the Bank's efforts to elevate nutrition on the continental and global agenda.
In collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank is championing the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) Initiative - a platform for political engagement to strengthen political will to address malnutrition and to encourage specific policy and financial commitments from African leaders for the nutrition agenda.
With a special focus on the first 1,000 days of a child's life and the grey matter infrastructure, the initiative aims to influence and generate innovative investments towards nutrition and food security that will build a foundation for productive human capital in Africa.
Adesina was in Madagascar to attend the second consultative meeting of the 15th Replenishment of the African Development Fund - the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group- which took place in Antananarivo from 2-4 July.