The Public-Private Partnership will commit more than $100 million to improve nutrition in low- and middle-income countries. The Eleanor Crook Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, announced today the Global Nutrition Financing Alliance to improve nutrition outcomes in low- and middle- income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The two organizations signed a memorandum of understanding to mobilize $100 million in private sector investment to address the effects of COVID-19 on malnutrition and food insecurity, tackle the root causes of malnutrition, and leverage private sector solutions to reduce malnutrition globally.
Globally, more than 820 million people are estimated to be chronically undernourished and malnutrition is the underlying cause of nearly half of all deaths among children under the age of five, killing approximately 3.1 million children each year. For those who survive, malnutrition plays an insidious role in undermining a child's future. Malnutrition stunts brain development and robs individuals and societies of their ability to grow into their full potential. Children who are undernourished are likely to learn less at school and earn less as adults, which, at the country level, translates to slow economic growth and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken the long-standing global emergency of malnutrition and raised it to unconscionable levels, with experts projecting up to a 20 percent increase in global malnutrition over the next 12 months.
The scale of the problem is immense, but fortunately, proven interventions to prevent and treat malnutrition are considered some of the most cost effective in global health and development. Scale-up of proven nutrition interventions save lives and provide significant economic return. In fact, reducing stunting, a permanent consequence of malnutrition early in life, can increase a country's overall economic productivity, as measured by GDP per capita, by 11 percent in Africa and Asia. This partnership will leverage the power of the DFC and the Eleanor Crook Foundation to advance the development of nutritious value chains as a key contributor to the fight against global malnutrition.
The DFC will bring its full array of financing tools to the partnership, including direct loans, debt and equity financing, and targeted technical assistance. The Eleanor Crook Foundation will contribute its expertise in global malnutrition and its global network of nutrition partners, as well as provide flexible technical assistance to support new investments. Together, the DFC and ECF will work with partners to develop new investment pipelines. They will leverage the ingenuity of the private sector to develop and bring to scale business operations that advance nutrition outcomes among vulnerable populations.
"We believe in the power of multi-stakeholder financing partnerships to accelerate healthy, prosperous futures for the world's most vulnerable," said William Moore, Chief Executive Officer of the Eleanor Crook Foundation. "We are thrilled to be working with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation to catalyze smart investments in nutritious food supply chains, food fortification, and healthcare — all with the goal of saving lives, and building stronger communities and economies."
"Malnutrition and food security are critical issues facing developing countries. COVID-19 has only exacerbated them," said DFC CEO Adam Boehler. "As part of this new alliance, DFC looks forward to working with the Eleanor Crook Foundation to combat global malnutrition using strategic investments with the private sector."