The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a financing agreement with the Government of Ethiopia for a $31 million grant to support the efforts to end stunting and child malnutrition.
With a total funding of $48 million for the Ethiopian government’s Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP), the AfDB support will help set the initiative in motion.
The agreement was signed earlier this week by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Yasmin Wohabrebbi on behalf of the Government. Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General of the AfDB’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office also signed on the Bank’s behalf.
Wohabrebbi indicated that, “In the past two years the government spent close to $31 million from its own sources to execute the Seqota Declaration Innovation Phase. The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) we are signing today will complement the government’s investment effort to achieve goals set under the Declaration.
“The project targets 40 districts in the Amhara and Tigray regions, where nearly 50% of children under the age of five are afflicted by stunting.”
According to 2020 Global Nutrition report, Ethiopia made some progress towards achieving the target for stunting, however, it revealed that 36.8% of children under 5 years of age are still affected. This result was higher than the average for the Africa region of 29.1 percent.
But, the report noted that some progress has been made towards achieving the exclusive breastfeeding target, with 58.8% of infants aged 0 to 5 months exclusively breastfed.
Furthermore, the prevalence of overweight children under 5 years of age is 2.1% and Ethiopia has made no progress against increasing the figure.
Significance of MASReP project
This new funding will go a long way to ensure that children benefit from improved access nutritious food and nutrition services. Also, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will receive nutrient-dense food crops, livelihood promotion and nutrition counselling.
Nonetheless, for the wider population, access to water for domestic use and food production will improve significantly.
“The agreement further underscores the African Development Bank’s commitment to support the Ethiopian government’s initiatives to end stunting in children under age two by 2030, in line with its Seqota Declaration,” Abdul Kamara noted. He also underscored that the project will tackle multidimensional causes of stunting.
Ethiopia’s Seqota Declaration is a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030. The national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance are co-ordinated in this effort.
The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project is in line with the Ethiopian government’s Ten-Year Strategy and two of the Bank’s High Five strategic priorities. These include Feed Africa strategy and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
The African Development Bank’s total ongoing commitment in Ethiopia is $1.6 billion, covering the key sectors of basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.