Today, as part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to end global hunger and malnutrition, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it is joining the Global Nutrition Financing Alliance, an ongoing collaboration between the Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF) and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). The partnership aims to mobilize at least $100 million of financing to tackle malnutrition within low- and middle-income countries over five years. It will also address the effects of COVID-19 on malnutrition and food insecurity while leveraging private sector solutions to reduce global malnutrition.
“We can do more when we partner together and we are thrilled to formally welcome USAID into this Alliance,” ECF CEO Will Moore shared, “It is through public-private partnerships and the innovative and smart programs they finance that we are helping to build stronger communities and save millions of lives. Against the backdrop of global humanitarian crises and ongoing pandemic, ending global malnutrition is even more important and urgent. This partnership will help us all to tackle the challenges that we could not take on alone.”
Experts predict that COVID-19 could cause up to a 50 percent rise in severe malnutrition due to economic shocks and disruptions to nutrition-focused programs and services. Moreover, even though nutritious foods-focused small and medium enterprises (SMEs) provide the majority of food consumed in Sub-Saharan Africa, they often do not have access to the capital needed to improve and grow. This collaboration among ECF, DFC, and USAID will seek to address this financing gap, help bolster these critical SMEs, and promote well-nourished communities.
How the Partnership Works
The partnership intends to catalyze comprehensive approaches that involve the health and agriculture sectors and beyond to improve health and food systems in low- and middle-income countries. The guiding objectives, set against the World Health Assembly’s 2025 global nutrition targets and the Sustainable Development Goals, are to:
- Reduce stunting (when a child is very short for their age) by 40 percent;
- Reduce wasting (when a child is very thin) to less than five percent;
- Reduce anemia in women of reproductive age by half;
- Increase exclusive breastfeeding during the first six months by half; and
- End malnutrition by 2030.
To advance these goals, USAID’s Feed the Future and ECF will also join forces with the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition and Incofin Investment Management to support the establishment of the Nutritious Foods Financing Facility (N3F). This innovative investment fund aims to directly impact diet quality, while advancing equity by prioritizing women-owned SMEs in its investments, promoting food safety, and reducing the environmental impact of the food supply chain.
Image 1 – ©WFP/Diouf