The Government of Guinea-Bissau, supported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), is launching a comprehensive study into the impact of child undernutrition on Guinea-Bissau’s social life and economic performance.
The latest in WFP’s Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) series, it aims to quantify – and ultimately help reduce – the devastating effects of hunger on the youngest and most vulnerable, in a country where one in four children suffers from chronic malnutrition. Fewer than ten percent of the under-twos benefit from an adequate diet. Undernutrition at this age can irreversibly hamper mental and physical development, damaging educational performance and work productivity.
“All too often, child undernutrition is seen through separate lenses and tackled from separate perspectives – agriculture, say, or education or healthcare,” says Kiyomi Kawaguchi, WFP’s Representative in Guinea-Bissau. “We hope the COHA study will provide the evidence and impetus for prioritized investments to address child undernutrition across sectors”.
Guinea-Bissau, a country in West Africa, is the 17th country to undertake the study in Africa. COHA studies conducted so far have shown that African countries lose as much as 16.5 percent of annual GDP to the consequences of child undernutrition.
Conducted in close partnership with the African Union Commission and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), it is being funded by the European Union and supported by WFP and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).