South Africa: Growing South Africa Begins With Investing in Our Children's Nutrition

opinion

Children are our future, yet over a quarter of those under five years of age suffer from stunting. In other words, they are short-for-age. This not only jeopardises their life prospects, but that of economic growth as well.

The finance minister's Aloe ferox needs water and good nutrition. We couldn't have put it better. The drought is devastating our country and its people are chronically undernourished. Both have severe effects on economic growth and development, and need to be tackled urgently.

The water crisis is easy to see. The time-series photography of dams across South Africa shows massive shrinkage and government is gearing up to respond to it. However, the social and economic shrinkage caused by chronic undernutrition is more insidious but just as damaging.

Children are our future, yet over a quarter of those under five years of age suffer from stunting. In other words, they are short-for-age. This not only jeopardises their life prospects, but that of economic growth as well. Stunting is a prominent factor in calculating the World Bank's Human Capital Index, a composite measure that quantifies the productivity of future generations based on their health and education attainment.

South Africa's is lower than in many...

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