The African Development Bank country office in Zambia and the UN Nutrition Network have agreed to lead multi-agency commitments aimed at effective implementation of the country's national food and nutrition agenda.
The two agencies reached the agreement on 5 September 2019 when Bank country manager for Zambia, Mary Monyau, hosted the global coordinator and director of the UN Nutrition Network, Purnima Kashyap. Both recognized the role of good nutrition as the basis for sustainable human development.
The UN Network for Nutrition is responsible for translating and achieving the world body's commitments in Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) with other UN agencies and international organizations in Zambia.
Malnutrition, the cause of half of all child deaths worldwide - continues to rob generations of Africans of the chance to grow to their full physical and cognitive potential, hugely impacting not only health outcomes, but also economic development in Africa.
Nutrition is at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well as the Bank's High 5s - Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialize Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
The meeting underscored the economic importance of investments in nutrition as the returns are high, with every dollar invested yielding $16.
Monyau said tracking of nutrition outcomes is an important part of the Bank's portfolio development. Through its various investment projects, the Bank has supported global efforts with specific interventions on nutrition, including financing the establishment of child feeding centres, promoting fruits, legumes, cashew nuts, poultry products and fish farming.
It has also previously supported an emergency relief fund, and integrated UN-led recovery efforts after droughts and floods in Zambia.
During the discussions, Kashyap spoke about the work of the UN Network for Nutrition and the various monitoring tools that are being applied in different countries.
Monyau and Kashyap also agreed on the formulation of two key strategic messages to sustain multi-agency coordination of nutrition-related efforts in Zambia in line with a new African strategy to strengthen policies and regulatory frameworks around nutrition, as well as to sensitize the population on healthy diets.
Malnutrition is unacceptably high on the continent, with 58 million or 36% of children under the age of five chronically undernourished, and 13 million or 8.5% of children acutely undernourished. In some countries, as many as one out of every two children suffer from stunting.