Childhood undernutrition and its disastrous effects


Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Children eating at the IDP site in Mellia, Chad. Photo: OCHA/Ivo Brandau

Undernutrition taking huge toll on Chad’s economy, new UN-supported study finds

Chad’s economy is losing 575.8 billion CFA francs ($1.2 billion) per year, or 9.5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), to the effects of childhood undernutrition and resultant increased healthcare costs, additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity by the workforce, a new United Nations-backed study has revealed.

The Cost of Hunger in Africa: the Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition on Chad’s Long-Term Development, (CoCHA) found that more than half of the country’s adults (56.4 per cent) have suffered as a result of childhood stunting. This means that more than 3.4 million people of working age are unable to reach their full potential due to childhood undernutrition. The study equates this lower physical capacity to 63.7 billion CFA worth of loss in economic productivity, as well as 168.6 billion CFA in additional health costs.

“Africa, and Chad in particular, has the potential to reap a demographic dividend from a young, educated and skilled workforce,” said Dr. Margaret Agama-Anyetei, Head of the African Union’s Division for Health, Nutrition and Population in a joint news release.

“But,” she warned, “this potential can only be harnessed if the gains of early investments in the health and nutrition of its people, particularly women and children, are maintained and result in the desired economic growth.”

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE



How big would be the smile of these kids if their parents were offered the simple means to set up a small kitchen garden with juicy veggies and herbs, yes, even in Chad ?  And yet, it’s possible.

SSA was the only region not to make any progress in reducing the population share in poverty

Photo credit: IPS

Artisanal diamond miners at work in the alluvial diamond mines around the eastern town of Koidu, Sierra Leone. Credit: Tommy Trenchard/IPS

Opinion: Sub-Saharan Africa, Addis and Paris

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Rudi von Arnim

Jomo Kwame Sundaram is Coordinator for Economic and Social Development at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome. Rudi von Arnim is Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

After the turn of the century, growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) picked up again after a quarter century of near stagnation for most, mainly due to increased world demand for minerals and other natural resources.

The region became second only to East Asia in recovering from the global slowdown following the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Thanks to the failure of development over the preceding quarter century, SSA was the only region not to make any progress in reducing the population share in poverty, with the number of poor people actually rising significantly.

During the decade 2003-2013, growth was faster, averaging 2.6 percent per capita annually. The SSA growth acceleration of the past decade fueled hopes that growth on the continent had finally begun to accelerate and catch up.

Annual SSA per capita real GDP growth had averaged a respectable two percent in the 1960s, but had slowed down from the late 1970s. Over the next two decades, real per capita income for sub-Saharan countries shrank by about three quarters of a percentage point annually on average.

While SSA growth resumed in the last decade, reliance on natural resource extraction has compromised its developmental impact. Such economic activity, especially in mining, has few linkages to the rest of the national economy, thus limiting its growth and employment creation impacts as well.

As its economic performance has closely followed the vagaries of the global commodity price cycle, SSA growth in the last decade was largely driven by the minerals boom on the continent.

But the high commodity prices of the past decade have been reversed by the spreading global economic slowdown and the Saudi decision to drastically reduce oil prices.

However, natural resource extraction does not have the same potential to accelerate development as manufacturing. No country has successfully developed without substantially increasing manufacturing or high-end services. Sub-Saharan Africa has not done well on this score in recent decades.

While the manufacturing share of GDP for all developing countries has risen over 23 percent, it has fallen in SSA to 8 percent from 12 percent in the 1980s. Meanwhile, the primary commodities’ share of total SSA exports reached almost 90 percent in the past decade.

Premature and inappropriate trade liberalisation has damaged SSA’s limited export capacities

Read the full article: IPS

Resilience and development

Photo credit: Livestock systems and environment

Water collection for animals and domestic use in Tanzania (photo credit: IUCN)

Understanding resilience and how it relates to development outcomes


This is the seventh entry of the resilience blog series, written by Davies Jonathan, the Coordinator of the Global Drylands Initiative at the the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. Jonathan is also a co-author in a recently produced article which is featured in this blog series.

The International Monetary Fund’s Survey Magazine of April 28, 2015, runs the banner headline ‘Resilient Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, Despite Strong Headwinds’. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Development Banks routinely use the term ’Resilient Growth’ in a sense that resonates with our concept of Development Process Resilience. Whilst economic growth alone may not be an ideal indicator of development, ‘resilient growth’, measured in terms of the rate of change in GDP, is a measure of progress towards one particular development goal; in this way, it is akin to what we are calling development process resilience.

Whether or not the term ‘resilience’ should be used in this context is less interesting to me than what is meant by use of the term. The term is in colloquial usage and it is informative to explore how the normative use of ‘resilience’ relates to the current interpretation in social-ecological science. I suspect that it is the normative use of resilience that has determined its widespread popularity. In our paper it is this implicit or intended meaning that we focus on; the way many actors in the Horn of Africa and globally have adopted the term Resilience to describe their development investments.

The origins of our paper ’Resilience and Sustainable Development: Insights from the Drylands of Eastern Africa’ were a response to the large amount of money being invested in resilience building and concern that the concept was poorly understood and therefore challenging to measure. In the drylands of Eastern Africa such misunderstandings in the past have left a legacy of misguided investments and policies that have aggravated poverty and environmental degradation. So whilst agreeing on definitions can sometimes be tedious, in this case the underlying meaning is of great significance.

Read the full article: Livestock systems and environment

From farm to boda-boda

Photo credit: CIAT Blog

Can the entrepreneurial spirit of young people be harnessed to encourage them to turn to agriculture? Credit: Georgina Smith / CIAT 

Farms without farmers?

Local vegetables R&D for smallholders

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Image credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith / Panos

Promoting local vegetables R&D to benefit smallholders

Speed read

  • Smallholders and traders of indigenous vegetables face issues marketing them
  • New post-harvest technologies could help solve the challenges
  • The impact of local vegetables on livelihoods of smallholders should be assessed

Researchers should tackle challenges smallholders face in marketing indigenous vegetables, writes Alberto Leny.

Read the full article: SciDevNet


Small-scale farmers and soybean in Argentina

Photo credit: IPS

Small farmers make carob powder, thanks to the support of an Argentine government project to boost family agriculture, in the rural village of Guanaco Sombriana in the northern province of Santiago del Estero. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS

The Dilemma of Soy in Argentina

By Fabiana Frayssinet


Industrial soy production continues to expand in Argentina, pushing small farmers out of the countryside and replacing other crops and cattle. It presents a challenge in a country where 70 percent of the food consumed comes from family farms, but which also needs the foreign exchange brought in by what has been dubbed “green gold”.

In 2013, exports of soybeans, soybean meal, and soybean oil brought in 23.2 billion dollars, representing 26 percent of the country’s total sales abroad, according to the business chamber that represents producers of grains and cereals, the Cámara de la Industria Aceitera-Centro de Exportadores de Cereales.

That makes transgenic soybeans Argentina’s main source of foreign currency. And the soybean production chain accounts for 5.5 percent of GDP and 10 percent of tax revenue.

Land that has been deforested in the central Argentine province of Córdoba, as a result of the expansion of transgenic soy. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS -
Land that has been deforested in the central Argentine province of Córdoba, as a result of the expansion of transgenic soy. Credit: Fabiana Frayssinet/IPS –

Impact on farming

“The growth in the surface area covered by soy and by transgenic commodities in general has meant the displacement of local farmers and an increase in cattle raised in feedlots,” Carlos Vicente, a member of GRAIN, a Barcelona-based international organisation dedicated to global agricultural issues, told IPS.

As an example of the impact, he said thousands of small dairy farms had closed down. “In the (eastern) province of Buenos Aires alone, 300 shut down,” he said.

“This means production is stagnant and concentrated in the hands of large producers, who are now acting as an oligopoly,” he added.

Read the full story:  IPS

Agrocorridors as economic driver

Photo credit: FAO

Farmers dry rice on the road to Hon Don in Vietnam.

New report touts agrocorridors as economic driver

FAO highlights ways large-scale development plans can foster inclusive, sustainable and transformative rural growth

Rome – Economic “agrocorridors” can be a strategic tool to draw private capital and large-scale investment to projects that benefit smallholder farmers and boost food security in lower-income countries, according to a new FAO report that provides guidance on how development planners can avoid pitfalls.

These corridors, according to the report, are development programmes that foster promising economic sectors – notably agriculture in developing countries – in a territory connected by lines of transportation like highwaysrailroads, port or canals.

The strength of this approach is its integration of investments, policy frameworks and local institutions.

“The key idea is not just to make transportation or irrigation infrastructure improvements but to provide a platform that enables and empowers authorities at local, national and regional levels to make more informed decisions about what they want to achieve,” says FAO agribusiness economist Eva Gálvez Nogales, author of “Making economic corridors work for the agricultural sector.”

Read the full article: FAO


Pastoralism and the Green Economy

Photo credit: Google

World map showing the traditional pastoralist regions today with the Saami, Mongol, Masai (

UNEP, IUCN Report Says Pastoralism Critical to Green Economy Transition





The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have published a report concluding that pastoralism-extensive livestock production in rangelands should be treated as a key element in the global transition to a green economy, as it provides “enormous benefits to humanity.”

Pastoralists with cows at a market. Credit: Nena Terrell/USAID - -
Pastoralists with cows at a market. Credit: Nena Terrell/USAID – http://www.usaid.gov

The report, titled ‘Pastoralism and the Green Economy – a Natural Nexus?,’ addresses: the role of pastoralism in protecting natural capital; pastoralism’s resource efficiency and sustainable production in dryland environments; and conditions that enable pastoralism to deliver on its green economy potential. It calls for, inter alia, a global development framework for sustainable pastoralism.

A cattle herder drives his animals in Tanzania. The study linked the spread of pastoralism with the ability to digest milk. -
A cattle herder drives his animals in Tanzania. The study linked the spread of pastoralism with the ability to digest milk. –

Released during the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 3rd Scientific Conference in Cancun, Mexico, the report finds that sustainable pastoralism on rangeland ecosystems, such as desert grasslands, woodlands and steppes: maintains soil fertility and soil carbon; contributes to water regulation and biodiversity conservation; and provides goods such as high-value food products.

Nomadic pastoralism around the world - -
Nomadic pastoralism around the world – –

The publication points out that though pastoralism is practiced by up to half a billion people globally, lack of investment has eroded this way of life in many developing countries.

Read the full article: IISD



Africa: exploiting its natural ressources (extractive industries)

Photo credit: UN News Centre

Special Adviser on Africa Maged Abdelaziz. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

High-level event stresses importance of extractive industries to sustainable growth in Africa


The United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA) held a meeting at Headquarters in New York today on the role of the extractive industry in Africa.

The event, which looked to the post-2015 development agenda and the African Union ‘Agenda 2063,’ explored how to enhance management of Africa’s extractive industries in order to fully harness their potential as important drivers for sustainable development, structural economic transformation and inclusive growth.

According to the OSAA, Africa has an abundant natural resource endowment, boasting 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 40 per cent of its gold and around 60 percent of its uncultivated arable land. With increasing global demand for primary resources, especially in rapidly growing emerging economies, the continent aims to continue exploiting its comparative advantage, with efforts so far seeing trade grow from $251 billion in 1996 to $1.151 trillion in 2011.

Despite strong export performance in the sector, African countries have not yet fully harnessed the full potential of their rich natural resource endowments or employed their natural resource advantages as an engine for inclusive economic growth.

Read the full article: UN News Centre

Livestock to Markets

Photo credit: Treehugger

© Livestock is the primary measure of wealth among herding communities of northern Kenya. CREDIT: Ron Geatz

A key tool in driving the better management of the rangelands is access to markets.

By Charlotte Kaiser, Deputy Managing Director at NatureVest, The Nature Conservancy.

For thousands of years the pastoralist communities of northern Kenya have herded their cattle alongside elephants and zebras, the grass of the rangelands shared between livestock and wildlife in relative balance. In recent decades, climate change, habitat loss, and human population growth have combined to erode that balance, leading to overgrazing and the degradation of the grasslands that both humans and wildlife need to survive.

For over a decade, the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) has worked with the communities of Northern Kenya to develop community conservancies that support better management of cattle and grass. Through rotational grazing, grass banking, and other practices, the NRT Conservancies have seen habitat improve and human-wildlife interactions decrease.

A key tool in driving the better management of the rangelands is access to markets. Historically, the pastoralist communities lacked easy access to a market for their cattle. While cows are capital for these communities, families do need cash for school fees and other expenses, and without access to markets are forced to trek animals long distances to sell them for a poor price to a middleman trader. Without ready access to markets, pastoralists amass overly large herds. During droughts, fear of mass cattle starvation drives pastoralists to sell animals at low prices in a buyers’ market, or risk losing most of their herd to starvation.

ACP countries and agriculture

Photo credit: Pixabay

Data: The next revolution for agriculture in ACP countries?

Organisation: CTA – Technical Centre for Agriculture & Rural Cooperation EU-ACP

Location: ACP Secretariat, 451 avenue Georges-Henri, Bruxelles, 1200, Belgique

The next Brussels Development Briefing n.40 will be held in Brussels on the 18th February 2015 on “Data: The next revolution for agriculture in ACP countries?”

The explosion of digital data offers new technological opportunities for enhancing agricultural development; it has also become a key asset for all economies in the world. By looking at significant trends, approaches and experiences in using open data for food and nutrition security, this Briefing shall shed light on the impacts of the global data revolution for agriculture.

Follow updates:

Date and place: Wednesday 18 February 2015

ACP Secretariat, 451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Bruxelles, Room C

– See more at:




– See more at:

Permission aux multinationales de détourner mille milliards de dollars chaque année / How to plug a gigantic $1 trillion per year corporate tax loophole ? (

Lu à  (Read at) :

Promising flowering phase; fruits will follow / Phase de floraison prometteuse ; les fruits suivront.  Photo WVC
Promising flowering phase; fruits will follow / Phase de floraison prometteuse ; les fruits suivront. Photo WVC

A l’attention des membres du G8:

En tant que citoyens préoccupés par la facilité avec laquelle les entreprises et les criminels peuvent cacher leur richesse hors de portée des gouvernements, nous vous demandons d’accepter et mettre en œuvre des mesures fortes et contraignantes pour lutter contre l’évasion fiscale. Celles-ci doivent inclure des moyens d’identification et d’échange d’informations sur toutes les formes de patrimoines ainsi qu’un registre public des sociétés et de leurs propriétaires. C’est une condition nécessaire et vitale pour faire face aux défis sociaux et environnementaux que nos pays connaissent.

Notre chance à mille milliards de dollars

D’ici quelques jours, plusieurs États décideront – ou non – de combler une lacune fiscale qui permet aux multinationales de détourner mille milliards de dollars chaque année. C’est assez d’argent pour éradiquer la pauvreté, scolariser tous les enfants et doubler les investissements écologiques! La plupart des pays veulent faire payer les multinationales, mais les États-Unis et le Canada restent indécis. Pour que les négociations aboutissent, nous devons faire monter la pression!

Mille milliards de dollars, c’est d’avantage que le budget mondial de la défense. C’est plus que le budget de 176 pays réunis. C’est l’équivalent de mille dollars pour chaque famille sur Terre. Et, aussi incroyable que cela puisse paraître, c’est la somme que les plus riches entreprises et particuliers parviennent à détourner chaque année grâce à l’évasion fiscale.



To leaders of G8 governments:

As citizens concerned about companies and criminals hiding wealth out of reach, we call on you to agree and implement tough, binding measures to combat tax evasion. These should include ways to identify and exchange information on all forms of wealth and a public registry of who owns and controls companies. This is a vital way to fund solutions to our social and environmental challenges.

Our $1 trillion chance

In days, governments will discuss whether to plug a gigantic $1 trillion per year corporate tax loophole – enough money to end poverty, put every child in school, and double green investment! Most governments want powerful multinationals to pay these taxes, but the US and Canada are on the fence. To get a deal, we need them to feel the pressure.

$1 trillion is more than every country combined spends on their military. It’s bigger than the budgets of 176 nations. It’s $1000 each for every family on the planet. And believe it or not, it’s the amount that our largest corporations and wealthiest individuals evade each year in taxes.


My apple tree with 1 trillion flowers.  One trillion chances that people can eat an apple, full of vitramins and minerals (Photo WVC)
My apple tree with 1 trillion flowers. One trillion chances that people can eat an apple, full of vitamins and minerals.  Wonderful idea ! /  Mon pommier avec mille milliards de fleurs.  Mille milliards de chances que les gens peivent manger une pomme, pleine de vitamines et d’éléments minéraux.  Quelle idée merveilleuse ! (Photo WVC)
%d bloggers like this: