09/11/2017 – News / Aliko Dangote Foundation / Nutrition / Nigeria
Aliko Dangote Foundation pledges $100m to fight malnutrition
The Aliko Dangote Foundation has pledged US$100 million as part of its mission to reduce the prevalence of undernutrition by 60 per cent in the most needy areas of Nigeria – specifically the North East and North West.
The announcement was made during the recently concluded Global Nutrition Summit 2017 in Milan, Italy. The event convened governments, international agencies, foundations, civil society organisations and businesses to accelerate the global response to malnutrition, an underlying cause of nearly half of all global child deaths.
A major highlight of the Summit was the pledge by the Aliko Dangote Foundation – the philanthropic organisation of Aliko Dangote, founder and Executive Chairman of the Dangote Group, Africa’s largest homegrown conglomerate – to invest US$100m over five years to tackle malnutrition in the worst-affected parts of Nigeria.
The Global Nutrition Summit is the global forum of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2026). This year’s edition was held in close partnership with a number of international stakeholders including the UK’s Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Coalition on Advocacy for Nutrition.
The governments of Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Zambia all made commitments to expand their nutrition programmes and the Summit succeeded in galvanising US$3.4bn, according to its organisers.
Malnutrition: undermining progress
While malnutrition affects every country in the world in various forms, Africa is particularly hard hit, and Nigeria is home to the highest numbers of malnourished children. Malnutrition is the underlying cause of almost half of the one million children in Nigeria who die before the age of five annually. Without the proper nutrients during the first 1,000 days of life starting from conception up to their second birthday, children are less likely to survive childhood diseases such as malaria and pneumonia, and are less likely to escape poverty as adults. They become physically and cognitively stunted – a fate that has befallen 11 million of Nigeria’s children under five.
“Nigeria’s high malnutrition rate is undermining progress towards improving child health and survival, and putting the brakes on economic development,” warned the Aliko Dangote Foundation’s CEO, Zouera Youssoufou. “By investing in nutrition, we aim to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower our citizens to reach their full potential.”
Off-track global nutrient targets
The Global Nutrition Report 2017, launched at the Summit, showed that, in spite of progress, 155 million children globally are still stunted and the world is off-track in terms of meeting internationally agreed nutrition targets. Financing to tackle malnutrition has been alarmingly low. Donors spend about 0.5 per cent of overseas aid on nutrition, and countries allocate between one and two per cent of their health budgets to the issue.
“The global malnutrition crisis endangers the physical and mental wellbeing of present and future generations” said Kofi Annan, speaking at the Summit in his capacity as Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. “Progress in tackling both undernutrition and obesity is possible with targeted commitments, like those made here today. We need further urgent investments so that people, communities and nations can reach their full potential.”
Through his own Foundation, since 1993, Aliko Dangote has made significant social investments in health, education, economic empowerment and disaster relief. He is now becoming the strongest voice for nutritional leadership on the African continent. The unprecedented US$100m commitment demonstrates that the Foundation is on a mission to reduce the prevalence of undernutrition by 60 per cent in the most needy areas of Nigeria, specifically the North East and North West, where malnutrition has affected millions of lives and crippled the local economy.