Africa Day is observed annually to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was created on 25 May 1963. It was the precursor of the African Union (AU).
Africa day provides an opportunity to celebrate the socio-economic achievements of the continent and in line with the African Union Theme for the year 2022 “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent”, the development agency of the African Union Auda-Nepad held an online celebration focusing on moving forward this agenda.
“I would like to call on all of us to work together and do the right thing for the constituencies and people that we serve. We owe it to our constituencies and our people, explicitly the children – they are the future leaders of tomorrow. We cannot groom a leader that is malnourished and does not have the capacity to perform. We should talk less and do more,” said Boitshepo Bibi Giyose, senior nutrition officer at Auda-Nepad.
AU Year of Nutrition seeks greater political will and investment to address the challenges
According to the findings of the Cost of Hunger in Africa Study, it is estimated that African countries are losing the equivalent of between 1.9 and 16.5% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to child under-nutrition. It is also estimated that malnourished children are at risk of losing more than 10% of their lifetime earning potential.
In addition to existing malnutrition challenges, the global health crisis of Covid-19 has greatly exposed the economic vulnerability of African countries and the weaknesses of their health and food systems.
The price to pay for keeping the virus at bay has been, in many African countries, at the expense of gains made in reducing malnutrition.
It is vital that these gains are protected by increased and well-targeted official development assistance, but above all by an increase in allocations of national resources, focused on the nutritional well-being of populations, including the most vulnerable ones.
More recently, the eruption of war in Eastern Europe has threatened Africa’s food supplies.
The general objective of the AU Year of Nutrition for 2022 is to secure greater political commitment and investment in nutrition to address ongoing nutrition challenges.
Specific objectives include:
- To evaluate and take stock of the progress made in the implementation of the AU commitments on nutrition at the continental, regional and national level;
- To facilitate broad-based and inclusive consultations/dialogue among all relevant stakeholders and policy makers, including parliamentarians, civil society organisations (womens’ groups, youth groups, farmer organisations, professional and academic institutions and associations), the private sector, and international organisations to build a multisectoral platform and to reach and map out practical solutions and pathways for accelerating the achievement of results;
- To facilitate mutual learning and experience sharing among AU Member States and through the South-South Cooperation Framework in order to generate collective responsibility and buttress ownership to move forward Africa’s food and nutrition agenda addressed in the ARNS and CAADP Framework;
- To facilitate dialogue with Africa’s strategic partners for demonstrable commitment and alignment of programmes toward a harmonised action and mutual accountability.
The outcomes expected from activities aligned with the above objectives, will be as follows:
- Creation of a multi-sector, multi-stakeholder platform for the coordination of all nutrition specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and all the sectors concerned;
- Strengthened monitoring, evaluation and accountability framework;
- Elevated motivation and commitment to act and contribute to ending all forms of malnutrition in Africa, though new pledges to support, resource and finance action plans dedicated to achieving set targets and results;
- Increased domestication and implementation of all AU and national legislative and financing instruments aimed at addressing food security and nutrition challenges.
For further information visit the Year of Nutrition page on the African Union website.
‘Africa will not face a food crisis’
Despite the fears sparked by the war in Ukraine, Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), remains optimistic about the future of Africa’s food supply.
Speaking to journalists on the eve of the AfDB Annual Meetings in Accra, Adesina did not equivocate: “We were not ready for Covid-19. But for agriculture, for food, we are ready. Africa will not face a food crisis.”
The AfDB’s recently approved $1.5bn Emergency Food Production Facility, which aims to provide seed, fertiliser and agricultural technology to over 20m African smallholders, hopes to generate an additional 38m tonnes of food, worth $12bn, in just two years.