Promoting innovations to advance food security and nutrition in Africa

Agriculture & Food Security
New AESA funding for innovations to improve food security and nutrition.

Globally, there are 690 million people who are hungry with the burden of malnutrition, in all its forms, yet to be tackled. Recent data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), indicates that 144 million (21.3%) of children under 5 years are stunted, 47 million (6.9%) wasted and 38.3 million (5.6%) overweight.  About 2 billion people in the world lack regular access to sufficient and nutritious food.

The Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA), announced today, new funding for innovations to improve food security and nutrition. AESA is a funding, agenda-setting and programme management initiative created in 2015 through a partnership of the African Academy of Sciences (AAS), the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), founding and funding global partners, and through a resolution of the summit of African Union Heads of Governments.  

AESA has partnered with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) to fund innovations for food security and nutrition, which can promote sustainable access to safe, nutritious and adequate food that lead to healthy and productive lives under the Grand Challenges Africa (GC Africa) programme. GC Africa seeks to promote Africa-led scientific innovations to help countries better achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by awarding seed and full grants to the continent’s most impressive solutions.

"This call addresses the funding gap, seeks solutions that present ideas with potential to create long-lasting impact for individuals, families, communities, farmers, service providers and decision makers. We are also interested in innovations addressing components of food infrastructure, networks, and systems," says Moses Alobo, Grand Challenges Africa, Programme Manager.

This is the 12th call to be issued under the GC Africa programme since the launch of the Grand Challenges Africa Innovation Grants in 2015. Up to $100,000 will be awarded to each successful project for two years to spearhead innovations that:

  • Address food security and nutrition gaps whilst responding to climate change needs.
  • Catalyse application of technologies, innovations and agribusinesses to achieve food security and nutrition targets.
  • Solve cross-cutting issues that promote food security and nutrition.
  • Promote achievement of the nutrition and health targets of the African Union.
  • Provide solutions that result in sustainable commercialization and production of indigenous foods.

“Achieving food security will require careful thought to effective approaches that ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to eliminating hunger, safeguarding food security and better nutrition as well as promoting sustainable agriculture. This especially with consideration of the devastating socio-economic and health effects of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The funding hopes to address urgent gaps to provide effective and resilient innovations to safeguard safe and nutritious food for all and especially for the most vulnerable,” says Markus Moll, Research Advisor with Sida Sweden.  

Food security and nutrition is part of the 9 priorities of the African Science, Technology and Innovation Priorities (ASP) programme. Over a five-year period, the programme will be developing, publishing and disseminating to relevant stakeholders, a set of policy papers and briefs communicating the top scientific priorities for Africa. ASP is coordinated by AESA and AUDA-NEPAD convening scientific leaders in Africa and policy makers to review the priorities set by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), African Union Agenda 2063, Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy for Africa (STISA 2024) and National Development Plans and help build consensus around which top priorities will give African countries the greatest return on investment.

In June 2020, AESA convened a diverse group of experts from across Africa to deliberate on research and development priorities to achieve food security and nutrition targets in Africa. Here, it became apparent the need for funding targeted at food security and nutrition. A survey later conducted in July-August 2020 further highlighted the key priorities from leading stakeholders around the continent.

Applicants should apply through the AAS Online Grants Management System by 04 December 2020 (23:59 East African Time).

Learn more about this request for proposals for innovations on food security and nutrition.

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