The African Development Bank (AfDB) joined the World Health Organization and the international community to commemorate World Health Day on April 7. In her annual message, WHO Regional Director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, explained that this year's World Health Day would focus on the theme of food safety, under the slogan "How safe is your food? From farm to plate, make food safe".
The AfDB marked the occasion by hosting the quarterly nutrition donor coordination meeting in Abidjan. Alongside UNICEF, the Bank will co-lead the donor coordination group in Côte d'Ivoire for the year 2015-2016. This signals the Bank’s commitment to the nutrition agenda and to support the government of Cote d’Ivoire in its efforts.
Côte d'Ivoire joined the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement in June 2013, demonstrating the government's commitment to scale up nutritional interventions within the framework of a coordinated, multi-sectoral strategy. Of the 54 member countries of the SUN Movement, 34 are located in Africa. Although the African economy is heavily dependent on agriculture (accounting for approximately 36.4% of GDP), many countries lack the necessary skills, expertise and technologies to produce adequate yields. Furthermore, around 25% to 30% of children under five years of age in Africa are malnourished, due to an insufficient level of food intake. According to the Global Nutrition Report 2014 and the 2014 country profile, Côte d'Ivoire falls short of the World Health Organization's health indicator thresholds for under-5 stunting, under-5 wasting, women of reproductive age with anemia, and obesity.
The AfDB contributes around half a billion dollars to the agricultural sector each year. It intends to scale up its commitment to combating malnutrition – a problem that affects all development sectors including education, health, water and sanitation. "We are currently working on a capacity-building project on nutrition in West Africa, with the support of the Korean Fund," explained Maimouna Diop-Ly, Principal Health Analyst at the AfDB. In 2013-2014, the AfDB supported efforts to harmonise food fortification norms and standards in West Africa, through a series of validation workshops.
The donor coordination group on nutrition in Côte d'Ivoire includes the World Food Programme (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the French Development Agency (AFD), the French Embassy, the European Union, the AfDB, the World Bank, and various international NGOs (Helen Keller International, Action Against Hunger, Doctors of the World, etc.).
The group's aims are to:
Facilitate resource mobilisation through dialogue and advocacy;
Ensure alignment of actions around the National Budget Plan, with a common framework of outcomes
Improve coordination and dialogue among donors and other organisations to enhance the efficiency of nutritional programs ; and
Improve the implementation of nutritional interventions.