“I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me”. ~ Kwame Nkrumah
Happy Africa Day! Let us celebrate our continent’s unity, achievements, cultures and traditions.
On this day, in 1963, the Organisation of African Unity – now known as the African Union – was established. As we commemorate this momentous day, with the African Union celebrating their 20th anniversary, I am proud to reflect on the accomplishments of our people across the continent.
Yesterday, at #WHA75 my brother, Dr Tedros, was elected to serve a second five-year term as Director-General of the world’s leading public health agency – The World Health Organization. The first African leader of the United Nations health agency, Dr Tedros’ tireless commitment to global health, care for humanity and humility is an inspiration for us all. His values embody the progress of our continent, and we are fortunate to have direct representation and a primary voice as our advocate.
This year’s Africa Day celebration is centred on nutrition, with the African Union Theme for the year 2022 “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent”. Myself and my Wellbeing Foundation Africa would like to emphasise the focused importance of addressing malnutrition and food insecurity, particularly in children.
According to the findings of the Cost of Hunger in Africa Study, it is estimated that African countries are losing the equivalent of between 1.9 and 16.5% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to child under-nutrition. It is also estimated that malnourished children are at risk of losing more than 10% of their lifetime earning potential.
That is why my WBFA addresses nutrition through our Adolescent Skills and Drills, Personal Social And Health Education programming, and Mamacare360 programme, to particularly empower the girl child and mothers, who often lacks iron and folic acid, as Africa’s potential and bright future is centred around African women and youth. They are integral to the solution, especially in driving sustainable development, innovation and achieving the African Union’s vision of Agenda 2063.
It is vital that we are supported by increased and well-targeted official development assistance, but above all by an increase in allocations of national resources, focused on the nutritional well-being of populations, including the most vulnerable ones.
I trust that Dr Tedros, the WHO and WHOF, will continue to focus on the existing malnutrition challenges which have greatly exposed the economic vulnerability of African countries and the weaknesses of our health and food systems.
Working together with all stakeholders, and with effective partnerships with UN Agencies, we can allow Africa the opportunity to thrive as the powerhouse it is, and contribute to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. As reinforced and combined action to strengthen resilience in nutrition and food security will lay a strong foundation to empower our continent.
“God bless Africa,
Guard her people,
Guide her leaders,
And give her peace.”
~ Trevor Huddleston