Africa is facing an increasingly complex range of interconnected challenges, impacting food and health systems and hindering progress made in fighting all forms of malnutrition.
COVID-19 and climate change continue to stress global food systems, disrupting food production and supply chains, tipping millions more people into hunger in Africa and globally. Health systems are also under pressure, with concerns that nutrition may be further de-prioritized on the health agenda, when it’s evident that nutrition is central to building resilience. Without urgent action, the number of people suffering from hunger and all forms of malnutrition will continue to rise in 2021, with the poorest and most vulnerable being disproportionately affected.
Despite these challenges, 2021 offers a unique opportunity for governments, businesses and the civil society in Africa to scale up efforts to ensure access to healthy diets for all and tackle malnutrition in all its forms.
Improving the continent’s nutrition starts with taking stock of the latest data. The Global Nutrition Report’s Country Nutrition Profiles show that Africa has made progress towards reducing undernutrition, notably under-5 stunting, and adolescent and adult underweight. Kenya, for example, is one of seven countries globally that is on course to meet four of the maternal, infant and young child nutrition targets as set out by the World Health Assembly.
However, progress to address malnutrition in Africa remains uneven. The continent’s socio-economic development, for example, is bringing about changes in diet. Food systems are enabling an increase in the consumption of harmful products that are cheap and intensively marketed, such as processed meats and sugar-sweetened drinks. Countries are now facing the double burden of malnutrition, where undernutrition coexists with diet-related chronic diseases. All Africa