A preliminary report on cost of hunger from a study in four piloted African countries has revealed that at least $7.225 billion is lost to child undernutrition in those countries.
The four countries are Egypt, Ethiopia, Swaziland and Uganda and the study was done by the African Union and NEPAD supported by the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The March 2013 study update was titled “The Cost of Hunger in Africa: The social and economic costs of child undernutrition”.
The study revealed that Egypt is losing $3.7 billion which is equivalent to 1.9% of GDP to the problem; Ethiopia is $4.5 billion, 16.5% of GDP; Swaziland $76 million equivalent 3.1% of GDP; and Uganda $899 million, or 5.6% of GDP.
According to the report which was tabled at the just ended African Finance Ministers Meeting in Abidjan, child undernutrition is one of the most critical negative effects of hunger.
“When a child is undernourished before the age of five, his or her body and brain cannot develop at its potential, and they are at risk for cognitive delays,” said the report.
It added that 17 African countries have stunting rates above 40% and 36 countries have rates above 30%.
The COHA project is based on a model originally developed in Latin America. The model is used to estimate the additional cases of morbidities, mortalities, school repetitions, school dropouts, and reduced physical capacity that can be directly associated to a person’s undernutrition before the age of five.
By Ekow Quandzie