Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has pledged a whopping US$100 million over five years to tackle malnutrition in his home country Nigeria, reports from the commercial capital Lagos said last week.
This comes at a time when the recently released Global Nutrition Report 2017 showed that despite progress 155 million children globally are stunted and the world is off track on meeting internationally agreed nutrition targets.
“Nigeria’s high malnutrition rate is undermining progress towards improving child health and survival and putting the brakes on economic development,” Zouera Youssoufou, MD and CEO of Aliko Dangote Foundation, said.
Despite being one of Africa’s top oil producers and economic powerhouses, Nigeria is still grappling with serious challenges such as chronic hunger, food insecurity, armed conflict and terrorism.
Youssoufou said by investing in nutrition, the Aliko Dangote Foundation aims to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower ordinary citizens to reach their full potential.”
Nigeria boasts not only Africa’s largest population, but also the continent’s highest numbers of malnourished children, reports said, adding that almost half of the one million children who die before the age of five in Nigeria, die of malnutrition as the underlying cause.
Without proper nutrients during the first 1 000 days of life starting from conception up to their second birthday, children are less likely to survive childhood diseases such as malaria and pneumonia, and are less likely to escape poverty as adults.
They become physically and cognitively stunted, a fate that has befallen 11 million of Nigeria’s children under five.
Photo: A child severely undernourished in Nigeria. Credit: Daily Mail