Social Media Empowers the Marginalized to Shape Politics – Somali Activist

Somali activist and broadcaster, Fatuma Abdulahi at the lecture on Wednesday

Malnutrition has remained high for many decades and boosting nutrition will boost the economy, discount the African Development Bank (AfDB) President said at a gathering that was discussing ways in which malnutrition can be eliminated by changing the agricultural and food systems.

He cited data which shows that 58 million children under the age of 5 years were too short for their age (stunted); about 14 million weigh too little for their height (wasted) while 10 million are overweight. “These are disturbing numbers, more about ” he said.

President Adesina was delivering a key note address at a High High-Level Round table on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition” organized by Global Panel, an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security.

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He suggested that nutrition in Africa be seen from the perspective of the economy. “Poorly fed people lead to poorly performing economies.

“UNICEF has estimated the annual cost of under nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa at $25 billion. Africa and Asia lose 11 percent of their GNP every year due to poor nutrition. The evidence is clear: boosting nutrition boosts the economy,” Adesina said.

Among other suggestions, the AfDB President said that what is needed now is to build greater demand for bio fortified crops within national nutrition programs.

In addition, he said that Africa must vigorously pursue large-scale food fortification as a food systems’ initiative and leverage agricultural platforms to promote innovations such as micro nutrient powders.

“This will accelerate the reduction of anemia and other forms of malnutrition among women and children in African agricultural economies,” he said.

He also sees a key role for the private sector which should be supported to use African food resources to address the continent’s nutritional needs. Equally, the AfDB President emphasized the crucial role that women play in the sector.

He said that women farmers must benefit significantly from renewed efforts to boost agriculture.

“They account for a significant share of the farming population but continue to face challenges in terms of access to land rights, labor saving technologies and finance,” he added.

“Countries must foster accountability on malnutrition as the world drives the sustainable Development Goals. Let us end the scourge of malnutrition. It is well within our reach to do so, and the evidence is overwhelming that we must act – and act now,” President Adesina noted.
Somali activist, approved media entrepreneur and broadcaster, cheap Fatuma Abdulahi has said that the era of social media has played a significant role in shaping the political sphere across the African continent.

Abdulahi, who is the founder of the first female owned online publication, Warya Post was delivering a lecture on Media and Politics in Africa at Golf course Hotel, Kampala.

This was part of an annual lecture series organized by Africa Centre for Media Excellence (ACME).

It’s the women marginalization in Somalia and the limitations at the BBC, where she was a producer, which led Abdulahi to create the online platform where Somalis could freely express themselves.

“Unlike the traditional media, social media gives a platform where we are in charge of the conversation, it occurs in real time and is free,” she said.

Much as she admitted that traditional media still reaches a sizable audience, Abdulahi disregarded its lack of dynamic content and less engagement with issues affecting especially young people and women.

In a continent where 200 million are between 15 and 24 years and a growing middle class there’s bound to be a change in the nature of political discourse and debate.

“Youths across Africa are engaging and holding politicians accountable through alternative forms of political sub activism such as trending topics,” said Abdulahi.

The discussion however highlighted existing negatives of online media such as contempt against women, shallow analyses as well as biased information.

As Uganda heads to general elections, it’s clear that social media is already giving a new trend in electioneering. Politicians are leveraging on social media to keep the electorate informed on their campaigns in real time.


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