World, Africa

DR Congo loses $1B per year to child malnutrition: UN

Losses to the country each year could equal 4.5 pct of country's GDP, says new UN report

07.07.2017 - Update : 07.07.2017
DR Congo loses $1B per year to child malnutrition: UN

By Godfrey Olukya

ARU, Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is losing more than $1 billion a year due to the effects of child malnutrition, according to a new UN report.

This could amount to some 4.5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, said a UN statement on Friday.

The report was undertaken by the nation’s government in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the African Union Commission (AUC), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).

The study shows that the losses are incurred each year through higher healthcare costs, additional burdens to the education system, and reduced workforce productivity.

“I welcome this important joint initiative which will contribute significantly to the government’s efforts to minimize the loss of human and economic potential to malnutrition," said Bruno Tshibala Nzenzh, Democratic Republic of Congo’s prime minister.

The country could save up to $383 million by 2025 if the prevalence of underweight children is reduced from 11 to 5 percent, said the report.

“These results call on all of us to act now to avoid future losses caused by hunger," said Claude Jibidar, the WFP Country director in the country.

Insecurity in some parts of the country is responsible for malnutrition since many people are displaced and living in camps.

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