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Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure: Addressing Africa’s Nutrition Challenges


DATE: Monday 22 May 2017                                          TIME: 14:00 – 16:00

  • Ambassador Kenneth QuinnPresident of the World Food Prize Foundation


  • Mr. Baffour Agyeman-Duah, CEO of the John Kufuor Foundation
  • Mr. Muhammad Ali Pate, CEO of Big Win Philanthropy
  • Mr. Shawn Baker, Director of Nutrition, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Ms. Lauren Landis, Director for Nutrition, United Nations World Food Programme
  • Ms. Zouera Youssoufou, CEO, Dangote Foundation


  • Ms. Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Chief of Staff and Head, 2020 Vision for Food, Agriculture and the Environment Initiative, International Food Policy Research Institute

Despite the overall macroeconomic growth and improved governance enjoyed broadly across the continent, Africa still has the highest rates of both poverty and hunger in the world. Out of about 795 million people suffering from chronic undernourishment globally, 230 million live in Africa; resulting in the highest prevalence of undernourishment worldwide, at around 20%. Even in abundant regions, food shortages can happen according to the period of the year, mostly due to poor conservation techniques or post-harvest losses. One of the greatest contributor to economic growth is brainpower, what we can refer to as “grey matter infrastructure”. While it is obvious that a road or port can add to improved trade and economic growth, it is often not recognized that stunting shrinks the size of the brain and therefore compromises current and future economic growth of nations. Simply put: stunted children today beget stunted economies tomorrow. Therefore, good nutrition is the cornerstone for human capital and economic development. In Africa, the levels of malnutrition are unacceptably high, with 58 million of children under the age of five chronically undernourished, and 13 million of children acutely undernourished. The economic impact of malnutrition is estimated to be as high as US$25 billion per year, with countries losing between 3% and 16% of their GDP annually. These costs are attributed to infant mortality rates, medical costs, impaired cognitive development and physical under-development caused by malnutrition.
The Bank envisages investing more in nutrition programs through partnerships and direct investments. The panel on developing Africa’s grey matter infrastructure will discuss innovative and cost-effective methods of improving nutrition in Africa. The discussion will include methods and efforts to fight hunger and food poverty as well as enhancing the nutritional value of food. The panel will also explore discussion of means to mobilize financing to address malnutrition in Africa.

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Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure: Addressing Africa’s Nutrition Challenges, AM 2017