Page 18 - Print Version Volume 22 - Number 1126
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Page 18        C O M M E N TA R Y                                                         Fortune Vol. 22 No. 1126 Nov. 28, 2021

How can governments get their populations to eat more leafy green vegetables and fish, asks Ton Haverkort, country director of the Global
          Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). Fortification is a powerful tool in this set, offering a rapid remedy at a low cost.

Beyond Solving Hunger, Diet for Brain Development, Immunity
Working in nutrition, it
            falls to me to explain,       All of these nutrients are key to               an inadequate diet dominated by        and lost productivity, and found
            quite often, how           brain development, as well as in the               starch.                                in just this very partial analysis
            unusually nutritious                                                                                                 that the deficiencies were reducing
teff is as a staple food. Many of the   strength of our immune system in                  But years of data that we have         GDP by more than half a billion
world’s staple foods, from maize to               countering disease.                     lodged with the FAO shows that the     dollars a year.
rice, are filled with starch, which                                                       average Ethiopian diet gets 70pc of
gives our body energy but does not                                                        its energy from starch. The same       Addressing this challenge
                                                                                          records show we are generally          is something that is requiring
necessarily provide the protein,                                                          low in vital nutrients like Vitamin    multiple health and policy
                                                                                          A and folic acid. This used to be      initiatives. For how do we get our
fibre, vitamins or minerals we         dramatically. The government’s                     the case, too, with iodine, until the  population eating more leafy green
need to be healthy.                    moves to enhance agriculture,                      government ruled that iodine must      vegetables, and more fish? But
                                       provide vitamin supplements to                     be added to our salt.                  fortification is also a powerful tool
By contrast, a single serving of dry   children through health extension                                                         in this set, offering a rapid remedy
teff, with its mildly nutty flavour    services, and drive our economy                    In fact, all of these nutrients are    at a low cost.
and incredible versatility, delivers   forwards to reduce poverty have all                key to brain development, as well
seven grams of protein, four grams     led to falling levels of malnutrition.             as in the strength of our immune       There are initial costs equipping
of dietary fibre, 25pc of daily                                                           system in countering disease.          producers to add vitamins to their
recommended magnesium, 20pc            Yet it has become clear that there                 Yet, our FAO records show we           foods, but, after that, reaching into
of daily iron and 10pc of daily        are actually two targets in nutrition              get about half the folic acid we       the diets of most of our population
calcium, Vitamin B6 and zinc.          to get to full health. The first is                need, and without it, there is a       with extra iodine, or vitamin A, or
                                       enough energy and access to                        risk of unborn babies developing       folic acid, just quietly ends most
It is a nutrition cocktail that        starches to keep our weight up and                 deformed brains and spines. Over       of these nutritional deficiencies,
Ethiopia can be proud of as a          energy going. The second is about                  half of these babies are stillborn,    helping every child to meet its full
starting point for its diet, which     what those of us in nutrition call                 and many more die at under five        potential.
might even leave one wondering         micronutrients, which are all the                  years of age.
why the government has                 elements of fish, dairy, vegetables                                                       Thus, with the ambition to end
highlighted the fortification of       and meat that see humans develop                   We are also short of vitamin A,        stunting by 2030, as committed
foods with vitamins and minerals       to their full potential.                           which fuels our immune system,         by nine ministries in the Seqota
as an important game-changer in                                                           which means that small infections      Declaration Program, the
the Food Security Plan it unveiled     However, a report last year from                   can become very serious, causing       government has gone beyond
at the United Nations Food System      the United Nations’ Food and                       the unnecessary deaths of several      the first base of starvation and
Summit last month.                     Agriculture Organisation (FAO)                     thousand children a year.              included plans to give all access
                                       looked at the cost of staple foods                                                        to a healthier and richer diet,
The answer lies in human potential.    that were full of starch and the                   Recently, GAIN calculated the cost     reducing the seriousness of
For we have come a long way            cost of an entire diet with enough                 to the country caused by these         infections and fatigue, increasing
indeed in reducing hunger. The         vitamins and minerals for health.                  deficiencies based on the number       our brainpower and productivity
level of hunger has been reduced                                                          of people affected by severe health    and giving us all a better national
                                                                                          problems as a result, counting up      future ahead.
by half and childhood malnutrition It found that a fully nutritional                      the additional health care costs
and stunting have also reduced diet costs five times as much as

By Eva Joly                                                                  VIEWPOINT

Corruption's War                                                                          on the Law
When one tries to
            fight corruption,                 Police officers, prosecutors, and           Moreover, the Inquiry’s mandate,       mandated to investigate police
            corruption fights                 public officials have faced severe          terms of reference, and timeline       misconduct – and supervised
            back. Maltese                    consequences for trying to take on           to which it was expected to            directly by the head of Nigeria’s
investigative journalist Daphne                                                           adhere were never disclosed.           police force. He provided
Caruana Galizia could tell that                             corruption.                   This left Magu – who has overseen      evidence that the documents in
– if she had not been murdered                                                            the successful prosecution of          question had been obtained by
by associates of those she was         political ends.                                    numerous senior politicians            the Italian authorities through a
investigating. Rwandan anti-           Last year – at a time when the                     on corruption charges and the          request to the United Kingdom
corruption lawyer Gustave              EFCC was reportedly probing                        seizure of millions of dollars’        for mutual legal assistance. (The
Makonene, who was strangled            corruption allegations against                     worth of illicitly obtained assets     documents had been disclosed in
and thrown from a car, also            Attorney-General Abubakar                          – not only unable to continue          a London High Court case Nigeria
cannot talk. Nor can Brazilian         Malami – Magu was arrested                         doing his job, but also exposed        had brought against JP Morgan
activist Marcelo Miguel D’Elia,        and detained over allegations of                   to an open-ended process of            Chase, the bank that handled the
who was shot multiple times in         corruption and insubordination,                    intimidation.                          payments for the acquisition of
a sugarcane field near his home.       levelled by none other than                                                               the OPL 245 field.)
                                       Malami. Although the same                          Olanrewaju Suraju, one of
Police officers, prosecutors, and      allegations had been investigated                  Nigeria’s most prominent anti-         With that, the forgery allegations
public officials have also faced       and dismissed three years earlier,                 corruption activists, is currently     against Suraju were dropped. But
severe consequences for trying         Magu was suspended from office,                    facing a similar pattern of            his problems were far from over.
to take on corruption. One such        pending the outcome of a Panel                     lawfare attacks. Earlier this          In the months that followed, the
official is Ibrahim Magu, who          of Inquiry set up by President                     year, a former Nigerian attorney-      police unit repeatedly demanded
became acting chairman of              Muhammadu Buhari.                                  general, Mohammed Adoke,               that he travel the 300 miles
Nigeria’s main anti-corruption         Magu was given few options                         accused Suraju of forging              from his home in Lagos to
agency, the Economic & Financial       to defend himself. For several                     evidence in a corruption trial         their headquarters in Abuja
Crimes Commission (EFCC), in           weeks, he was prevented from                       in Milan, Italy, involving the oil     for further questioning. This
2015. In 2017, gunmen attacked         accessing the evidence against                     multinationals Shell and Eni. The      harassment continued, even after
Magu’s home, killing one of            him, and he was repeatedly                         charges against the companies –        Suraju obtained a court order
the policemen guarding it. But         denied permission to address                       which were ultimately acquitted        prohibiting it.
bullets were not what ultimately       the Inquiry or cross-examine                       – related to their acquisition of
neutralised Magu. Instead,             witnesses.                                         an offshore Nigerian oil block         Today, Adoke is facing a criminal
his removal from office was                                                               known as OPL 245.                      trial in Nigeria over allegations of
engineered through “lawfare” –                                                                                                   wrongdoing in the OPL 245 deal.
the use (or abuse) of the law for                                                         Following Adoke’s accusations,
                                                                                          Suraju was detained for                                      (Continued on PAGE 22)
                                                                                          questioning by a police unit
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