President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has expressed concern over the rising cases of stunted children caused by malnutrition in Africa.
Adesina expresses concern at the African Leaders for Nutrition High-Level Dinner for Heads of State at Addis Ababa.
The speech presented by AfDB president was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by the bank’s Communications and External Relations Department on Sunday.
He explained that Africa was the only continent where the number of stunted children had increased over the last two decades.
He said the stunted children in Africa had increased to 58.5 million in 2018, from 50.3 million at the turn of the century.
According to him, of the 39 per cent of the world’s stunted children and 28 per cent of the world’s wasted children are in Africa.
“They are prone to inhibited intellectual and physical growth, and sometimes even premature death. These are not just statistics. These are people. Our children.
“Like I have always said, stunted children in Africa today means stunted economies tomorrow. We know that a loss in adult height by just one per cent due to childhood stunting can lead to a 1.4 per cent loss in economic productivity.
“We cannot, and we will not accept this. We must turn the tide. And to turn the tide, you need leaders. And you, present here today, are the Leaders.
“In my culture, there is a saying ‘elders can’t be in the market place and observe a baby’s neck slump over their mother’s back.