Philanthropy is About Investing in the Future to Support Africa
Guest speaker Martin Short at the African Philanthropy Forum spoke about how the power of nutrition can support Africa by creating a sustainable future for Africans – and how this can be one of the greatest philanthropic acts.
How a Lack of Nutrition is Affecting Africa
By failing to provide young Africans with the right nutrition during the first 1,000 days of their lives, it is costing African nations over 15% of the annual GDP. The potential of millions of children are thrown away, not to mention that as much as 45% of child deaths in Africa result from malnutrition. Children are the citizens of the future and without citizens who are educated, healthy and empowered – how will Africa meet the challenges of the future?
A healthy nation unleashes innovation and creates large-scale opportunity for growth. Providing good nutrition to the continent makes development in areas like food security, climate change, health and education possible. Good nutrition is an investment with exceptionally high returns – a healthy workforce equals a healthy economy.
How Philanthropy can affect Transformation in African Nutrition
African philanthropic organisations and leaders are in a unique position in which they can drive transformational change forward.
Bridging the finance gap
Firstly, the financing gap should be bridged through bringing the public and private sector together. In Africa spending money on nutrition is not a priority – less than 2% ODA is earmarked for nutrition specific programs.
The way forward is collaboration
African philanthropists, the public and the government should work together to raise funding that will ultimately ensure transformation and long-term sustainability.
All the money in the world will not affect changes simply by existing. It has to be put to action. To have the greatest impact stronger national systems have to be shaped. Governments have to commit to bring about overall improvement. By establishing leaders responsible for improving nutrition, focus can be placed on accountability, transparency and traceability. Educational initiatives in schools and in community centres that inform children and citizens about the power of nutrition should be put into place.
By taking bold action in improving nutrition, African philanthropists, the government and the public can support Africa where it truly matters – investing in the future.