Malawi to benefit from US$4.1bn funding to fight under-nutrition

Malawi’s commitment to fight under-nutrition was given a boost on Saturday following the announcement by donors to provide US$4.15 billion to scale up the fight against under-nutrition in Africa.

Donors at the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in London, the United Kingdom, pledged a total of US$4.15 billion on June 8, 2013 to prevent at least 20 million children from being stunted and saving at least 1.7 million lives by 2020.

Of the funding, $2.9 billion is core funding with the remainder secured through matched funding. The new aid donors have secured doubles the funding for the fight against under nutrition in the next five years.

The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a commitment by G8 Nations, African countries and the private sector partners to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth to lift 50 million people out of the of poverty over the next 10 years.

The summit which President Dr Joyce Banda attended also announced that 90 stakeholders, including 24 governments and 28 business and science organizations endorsed the Global Nutrition Growth Compact.

President Banda with Kofi Annan  a former Secretary-General of the UN and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
President Banda with Kofi Annan a former Secretary-General of the UN and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

An estimated $19 billion was also committed for improved nutrition outcomes from nutrition sensitive investments between 2013 and 2020.

Twenty-two businesses pledged to improve the nutrition and consequently the productivity and health of over 927,000 workforces in more than 80 countries.

The summit also announced new commitment to scale up research, knowledge sharing and south-south partnerships.

In her speech and during panel discussions at the summit, President Banda appreciated the tremendous opportunity created by donors, philanthropists and the private sector to support Malawi’s efforts to generate greater investment in agricultural development, achieve sustainable food security outcomes, reduce poverty and end hunger.

The Malawi President who earned praise from the summit’s speakers for her commitments to scale up the fight against under nutrition, said by seeking to accelerate investments and increasing support for the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, the Alliance demonstrates that it recognizes home grown strategies for improving the agriculture sector.

‘’What is particularly appealing about the Alliance approach is its emphasis on strong partnerships with the private sector and conducive policies for investments. This is the reason why my Government adopted the Agricultural Sector Wide Approach (ASWAP) to guide investments in the agricultural sector.

‘’The ASWAP has already brought some benefits in terms of impact including harmonization of agricultural programmes, alignment of donor support, private sector involvement and resource mobilization. The coming in of the Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition will, no doubt, strengthen the Agriculture Sector Wide Approach in Malawi,’’ said the Malawi leader.

The President cited two among several considerations that underpin the importance of increasing investments in food security and nutrition programmes.

She said the first consideration points to food security and nutrition as a basic human need for our people to satisfy a healthy, active and decent life.

The second consideration, she said, concerns the view of food insecurity as a violation of human rights adding that a rights-based approach to food security offers potential additional leverage to improve and speed up the current efforts to reduce the number of hungry people worldwide.

‘’Investing in food security for human resource development is therefore an important strategy for harnessing human capital development to achieve our long term vision of a better future,’’ informed President Banda.

The Malawi President also said her government developed the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) which, among other things, prioritises agriculture as a sector that has huge potential to accelerate economic growth for Malawi.

She said the ERP looks at agriculture not only as a means to attaining household and national food security as has been done in the past, but agriculture as a business through which farmers can generate wealth and Malawi can attain more economic growth.

Donors at the summit acknowledged that the fight against under nutrition calls for investment in a whole range of sectors including in agriculture, land issues, human rights and trade.

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