Despite surplus food in the world, Africa loses $25bn every year to malnutrition, the President of the African Development Bank and former Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has said.

A statement issued on Monday by the Communications Officer of Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, Lilian Ajah-mong, said Adesina made the observations in Abidjan, Cote-d’Ivoire during the gathering of 900 participants from 60 countries, including Nigeria, to review progress in tackling malnutrition and share innovations and best practices to drive progress.

Other participants included representatives of the government, academia, civil society organisations, United Nations and the business community.

The 2017 SUN Global Gathering brought together all SUN Government Focal Points and representatives of their partners from civil society organisations, donors, United Nations’ agencies, private sector partners, academia, media, parliamentarians and others.

Nigeria was represented at the Global Gathering by a team of delegates from four of the five SUN Networks – government, civil society organisations, donors and business community.

At the event, the coordinator of SUN Movement, Gerda Verburg, stated that while progress had been made, more needed to be done as good nutrition was integral to achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals.

Adesina said, “Africa loses US$25bn a year to malnutrition. Although there is surplus food in the world, 800 million people live in extreme poverty and hunger globally with about 1.3 billion tonnes of food going to waste every year.

“We need to ensure that community-based nutrition systems are strengthened; that we enhance general food safety, especially in the informal food markets that dominate most African cities.”

Verburg said the SUN Global gathering was for the world to inspire nations to get the food systems right.

She said, “Nutrition is important for education, nutrition is important for health, nutrition is important for the economy and to improve the GDP. We need to find instruments to build collaboration focused on impacts and results and to build partnerships with the private sector. The challenge of under-nutrition and obesity is one that behooves on us to build bridges between countries dealing with these issues to address them.”

The UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake, who served as the Chair of the SUN Movement Lead Group, said “There are 10 million fewer children who are stunted today than there were when the SUN movement started seven years ago, but millions of children are still being left behind.”