Over the years, African Development Bank has recorded huge sucesses in assisting African countries in their areas of need. In recognition and appreciation of AfDB’s relentless efforts, the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, was honored with the 2017 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) in Washington D.C. recently.
The Award for Child Nutrition was created in 2004 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the worldwide dream of ending childhood hunger. The award is given in the name of Gene White, who has dedicated her life to the nutrition and well-being of children.
In addition, the award is to commend Adesina’s lifelong work towards assisting countries in their agricultural sector which has contributed significantly to food security and the sector’s development.
“A champion of nutrition, Dr. Adesina co-hosted the first official meeting of the African Leaders for Nutrition in 2016, and serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition,” the organisation said.
Adesina gladly accepted the award and further underscored the importance of food, nutrition and the need to banish hunger and famine in a world full of surplus food and over-consumption.
“… I accept it because it will spur me to continue my passion and commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition globally and in Africa.”
In addition, he commended the United States’ Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, noting that “Undernutrition remains the single largest contributor to child mortality and nothing sums up more precisely the appalling tragedy of unfulfilled human potential than a stunted child.”
He also urges governors across the world to assist in combating malnutrition in the world:
“Governments across the world must invest in grey matter infrastructure, ” Adesina said. He further explaind that he established the ‘African Leaders for Nutrition’ (ALIN) with other world leaders such as Bill Gates, Aliko Dangote, Kofi Annan and ex-President of Ghana, John Kufuor.
“It is not just a social issue or just a health issue. Economic progress in the continent is being undermined by malnutrition which costs African economies around 11% of GDP annually – at least $25 billion annually in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malnutrition leaves a lasting legacy of pain and loss. Stunted children today leads to stunted economies tomorrow,” he added.
Adesina dedicated the award to his son Rotimi who has recently completed his residency programme in paediatrics at the world famous Crozer-Chester medical center after recounting an interesting family experience that bonded him to agriculture. He concluded his remarks by quoting the renowned Greek Physician, Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food”.
It has been reported that in 2010, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed Adesina as one of 17 global leaders to spearhead the Millennium Development Goals, along with Bill Gates, the Spanish Prime Minister and the President of Rwanda. He was named Person of the Year by Forbes Africa magazine in 2013.
However, the Global Child Nutrition Foundation is a network of governments, businesses, and civil society organizations working together to support school meal programs that help children and communities thrive.
Adesina further stated that combating malnutrition is like combating economic disaster. He urged all the prominent leaders to join hands in fighting malnutrition in the world.