His Majesty King Letsie III as the African Union Champion for Nutrition is hosting a HighLevel Forum on Nutrition Financing for Heads of States and governments as well as representatives from international organisations and development partners at the event held at Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru.
The two-day High-Level Dialogue on Nutrition Financing which started on Thursday is set to review initiatives on private sector engagement, unpack the role of the private sector plans in innovative financing for nutrition on the continent and assess accountability in resource allocation as well as Parliamentarians’ oversight of budget allocation.
When opening the ceremony, the Prime Minister, Mr. Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane said it was only in January this year when they gathered in Dakar, Senegal for the Dakar II Summit Feed Africa-Food Sovereignty and Resilience, saying it was in the same summit where a platform was set for governments and development partners to work diligently on compacts that will transform agriculture across Africa.
“Today, as we meet again under the leadership of His Majesty King Letsie III, Head of State of this Kingdom and the African Union Champion on Nutrition for the term 2022-2024, we are only continuing a journey that shall see Africa feed itself and become a bread basket for the World,” he said.
He noted that His Majesty King Letsie III, in his role as the Nutrition Champion strongly advocates for African Heads of State and governments, all relevant partners and stakeholders to support nutrition and food security initiatives.
He stressed that Nutrition is core to the health, well-being, and economic development of this continent, saying all can agree that nutrition can no longer be regarded as a food production issue as it involves every sector within the cycles of food systems thus from farm to fork.
He said to contribute to continental efforts, the government of Lesotho has decided to keep the nutrition coordinating body, the Food and Nutrition Coordination Office in the Office of the Prime Minister to track food and nutrition programmes carried out by implementing agencies.
The Prime minister noted that a decisive step was taken by Members of the Senate to form a Health and Nutrition Portfolio Committee whereas in the National Assembly, all Portfolio Committees are dedicated to supporting food and nutrition initiatives, noting that the government is engaged in various food and nutrition initiatives that are meant to address malnutrition at the grassroots level.
He, therefore, wished all the stakeholders a fruitful deliberation and wished the guest a happy stay in Lesotho.
Also speaking, the African Union Commission for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development, Ambassador Minata Samaté Cessouma said today’s meeting is intended to ask the bilateral partners and private sector to finance Nutrition.
She noted that nutrition is key hence it is important to continue with the implementation of the road map for nutrition.
She noted that His Majesty is doing a great job in sensitizing member states to prioritize nutrition, saying this cannot go without agriculture as Africa is rich because it has 60 percent of its land hence can be invested in agriculture.
She noted that collaborated effort is crucial as Africa is challenged by climate change and the Russia-Ukraine war.
The event has attracted participants drawn from international organizations, development partners including Finance Ministers from the Cost of Hunger Countries, African Parliamentarians, some United Nations Agencies, Regional Economic Communities, and the Private Sector.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.