The Lagos-based Dangote Foundation has announced a pledge of $100 million over five years to tackle malnutrition in Nigeria.
Announced at the Global Nutrition Summit in Milan, Italy, the initiative is aimed at reducing the prevalence of undernutrition by 60 percent in northeastern and northwestern Nigeria, where malnutrition has affected millions of lives and crippled the local economy. This year's summit was hosted in partnership with a number of international stakeholders, including the United Kingdom's Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the International Coalition on Advocacy for Nutrition.
According to the foundation, a million children under the age of five die every year in Nigeria, nearly half of them as a result, in whole or in part, of malnutrition. What's more, without the proper nutrients during the thousand days from conception up to their second birthday, children are less likely to survive childhood diseases such as malaria and pneumonia, are more likely to become physically and cognitively stunted — a fate shared by eleven million Nigerian children — and are less likely to escape poverty as adults.
"Nigeria's high malnutrition rate is undermining progress towards improving child health and survival and putting the brakes on economic development," said Zouera Youssoufou, managing director and CEO of the Dangote Foundation, which was founded in 1993 by Aliko Dangote, founder and executive chair of the Dangote Group and the richest individual in Africa. "By investing in nutrition, we aim to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower our citizens to reach their full potential."
(Photo credit: Nutrition for Growth)