Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, has been reappointed to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement Lead Group by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. The Lead Group comprises 22 global leaders dedicated to eliminating global malnutrition by 2030.
The announcement, made on June 1, highlights the commitment of these nutrition champions to tackle malnutrition, a pressing global issue. Secretary-General Guterres praised the dedication of the Lead Group members, recognizing their efforts to scale up nutrition and create a world free from malnutrition by 2030. He emphasized the significance of the SUN Movement’s country-led, multisectoral, and multi-stakeholder approach in addressing this challenge.
Adesina expressed his gratitude for the appointment and his eagerness to contribute to the agenda. The African Development Bank has been actively involved in combating child undernutrition and stunting, which affects 216 million children in Africa. Poor nutrition not only leads to child fatalities but also hampers economic growth, costing the continent 11% of its gross domestic product.
Adesina advocates for investing in Africa’s “grey matter infrastructure” alongside physical infrastructure, recognizing the importance of cognitive function and critical operations in human development. The Bank’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Action Plan 2018–2025 aims to reduce stunting in Africa by 40% by 2025 through nutrition-focused investments across various sectors. So far, the Bank has reallocated $2.8 billion from its investment portfolio to nutrition-smart initiatives.
In collaboration with the African Union Commission, the Bank has launched the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative. ALN brings together current and former leaders, finance ministers, and first ladies to promote nutrition in Africa. The Presidential Dialogue Group, formed under ALN, is working to address stunting in the most affected African countries.
These nutrition initiatives are integral to the Bank’s broader Feed Africa strategy, which aims to transform Africa into a net food exporter. The Bank co-hosted the Dakar 2 Africa Food Summit in January 2023, mobilizing over $70 billion to enhance food and agriculture production on the continent. Additionally, 41 African countries presented “Country Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts” outlining nutrition-sensitive roadmaps to strengthen food security.
As a signatory of the Abidjan II Agreement, the African Development Bank collaborates with the African Union Commission, the Forum for African Agricultural Research, and the Centres for Global International Agricultural Research. This partnership seeks to enhance Africa’s resilience to food crises by strengthening agricultural research and innovation systems.
Adesina’s reappointment to the SUN Movement Lead Group further solidifies his commitment to combating malnutrition and fostering sustainable development in Africa. He joins esteemed members from various sectors who share the common goal of eradicating global malnutrition by 2030.