kufuor2_JEKESAI NJIKIZANAAFP via Getty Images_zimbabwe food scheme Jekesai Njikizana/AFP via Getty Images

Nutrition Leadership During a Pandemic

The pandemic has revealed inefficiencies and inequities in government policies aimed at achieving robust and long-lasting improvements in nutrition. African leaders must fight the pandemic in the framework of a longer-term strategy to end malnutrition and boost the continent’s collective problem-solving capacity.

ACCRA – An African proverb says, “When the music changes, so does the dance.” As governments around the world strive to protect their populations from the COVID-19 pandemic’s health and economic effects, the role of decisive leadership has never been more important – not least in the area of nutrition.

When we established African Leaders for Nutrition four years ago, our aim was to highlight revolutionary thinking in addressing malnutrition across the continent. None of our group’s founders – African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina, the late former United Nations secretary-general Kofi A. Annan, and I – could ever have imagined the burden that the pandemic would impose on the global development agenda.

The threat posed by this new virus requires us to tackle malnutrition in new ways. COVID-19 has revealed inefficiencies and inequities in all of our efforts to achieve robust and long-lasting improvements in nutrition. Africa’s rising number of COVID-19 cases threatens to increase hunger and malnutrition further, and has brought into focus how our thinking must change.

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