Ethiopia loses around 16.5 percent of its GDP each year to the long-term effects of child malnutrition. That’s just one of the statistics to emerge from “The Cost of Hunger in Africa” study which measures the economic impact of malnutrition in 12 different countries. Ethiopia is the third country so far to publish its findings.
ADDIS ABABA (Ethiopia)—Over the past decade, Ethiopia has taken important strides towards reducing its high levels of hunger and malnutrition. Nutrition interventions aimed at mothers and children together with programmes to boost agriculture have left millions of Ethiopian families healthier and better able to feed themselves.
Cost of Hunger in Africa
The Cost of Hunger in Africa analyzes the impact of hunger across 12 countries in Africa. It was carried out with the support of the African Union Commission, a body which includes the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the UN Economic Commission for Africa and WFP.
However, the lasting effects of malnutrition still weigh heavily on the Ethiopian economy, as new research shows. The “Cost of Hunger in Africa” report estimates that undernutrition costs the country billions of dollars every year in lost worker productivity. Here are 10 of its key findings.
1. Today, more than 2 out of every 5 children in Ethiopia suffer from stunting, which means they’re short for their age. Stunting is a lifelong condition that results when children miss out on critical nutrients while in the womb or during the first five years of their lives.
2. As many as 81% of all cases of child undernutrition and its related pathologies go untreated.
3. 44% of the health costs associated with undernutrition occur before the child turns 1 year-old.
4. 28% of all child mortality in Ethiopia is associated with undernutrition.
5. 16% of all repetitions in primary school are associated with stunting
6. Stunted children achieve 1.1 years less in school education.
7. Child mortality associated with undernutrition has reduced Ethiopia’s workforce by 8%
8. 67% of the adult population in Ethiopia suffered from stunting as children.
9. The annual costs associated with child undernutrition are estimated at Ethiopian birr (ETB) 55.5 billion, which is equivalent to 16.5% of GDP.
10. Eliminating stunting in Ethiopia is a necessary step for its growth and transformation.
© 2013, Prof. Muse Tegegne. All rights reserved.