The African Regional Nutritional Strategy (ARNS) is targeted at advocating and sensitizing Africa’s leaders about the essential role of food and nutrition security in the overall socio-economic development of the continent. Food and nutrition in Africa has deteriorated, despite initiatives such as the World Food Summit (1996), the ICN (1992) and the OAU ARNS (1993). Major problems include inadequate access to food, health services, water and sanitation, as well as inappropriate maternal and child healthcare practices. These are often aggravated by manmade disasters such as conflicts and wars or natural disasters like floods, drought and diseases.
Major nutritional problems identified in the strategy include protein energy malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, iodine deficiency disorders and HIV/AIDS. These problems often result in childhood illnesses and diet –related chronic diseases. The strategy also analyzes the problems and causes of the nutrition situation in Africa using TFNC (Tanzanian Food and Nutrition Centre) conceptual framework adopted by UNICEF.
The stated objectives of the ARNS include increasing awareness on nutrition problems, advocating for renewed focus on the issues, stimulating action, providing framework for action and defining mechanisms for collaboration. The advocacy role of the African Union in the implementation of ARNS is outlined in the Annex 1. The role of member states, the African Union Vision and the Millennium Development Goals are found in the subsequent annexes of the document.