A mother dishing-up a meal for her children. Millions of Africans go hungry or suffer from malnutrition.
Photo: © Riccardo Mayer/Shutterstock

2022 is the Year of Nutrition for Africa

The number of hungry people has been rising over the last years, and the world is far off-track in achieving SDG 2 “Zero Hunger”. The African Union has now declared the Year of Nutrition for Africa in order to fight hunger and malnutrition on the continent.

The year 2022 has been designated the Year of Nutrition for Africa by the leadership of the African Union and African Heads of State and Government, aiming to secure greater political commitment and investment in nutrition to address the ongoing nutrition challenges. 

The AU Nutrition Theme for 2022 will be led by the Department of Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development (HHS), in close collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment (ARBE), the Department of Education, Science, Technology (ESTI) and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

Almost 1 in 5 Africans go hungry every day, many of them living in rural areas. The number of hungry people on the continent reached 282 million in 2020, and the development of millions of children is threatened due to malnutrition, whose negative effects will be felt for years to come in African Union (AU) states. African economies, similarly, lose 3-16 per cent of GDP annually due to malnutrition. With the rising food prices and the low purchasing power of many Africans, the threat of social unrest becomes more pronounced, according to the AU. Implementing the theme of the year 2022, addressing malnutrition on the continent will leverage several ongoing flagship projects and activities of the African Union such the African Continental Free Trade Area, the Free Movement of Persons, education and innovation, among others.

The AU Year of Nutrition for Africa activities will be guided by the following priorities:

  • Data management and information systems, knowledge generation and dissemination to inform decision making
  • Advocacy for increased commitment and nutrition investment
  • Partnerships and mutual accountability platforms for harmonised action and transparency
  • Institutional capacity enhancement and an enabling environment for intensified action and delivery of results and impact

With the decision to make 2022 the Year of Nutrition for Africa, governments and the African Union have shown strong leadership to prioritize and scale up nutrition, the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement (SUN) Movement writes on its website. SUN strongly applauds the Year of Nutrition for Africa, noting that it is no longer enough to simply fight hunger. It must go beyond counting calories, to nourishing populations, as good nutrition is essential for health and well-being across Africa and the whole world. Ensuring equitable access to healthy diets can avert food crises, prevent new cases of malnutrition, and lead to long-term development, political stability, and resilience. 

Ines Lechner, editor, Rural 21, DLG-Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt/Main, Germany

Read more at the SUN website

Read more on the African Year of Nutrition at the AU website

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