Botswana, a new Compact2025 focal country, hosted IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan and others at a high-level sensitization seminar in early December 2019 together with the Ministry of Agricultural Development and Food Security (MoA). The meeting explored collaboration under Compact2025 to accelerate progress to end hunger and malnutrition in the country.
While Botswana has made great progress sustaining economic growth in the country, high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition still exist. Dr. Edwin Dikoloti, Minister of Agricultural Development and Food Security, opened the event emphasizing the need to use a food system approach to advance agricultural and nutrition goals in the country.
In his presentation, Dr. Fan discussed how the IFPRI and Botswana partnership is mutually beneficial. IFPRI through its Compact2025 initiative can contribute policy analysis, partnerships, and capacity strengthening to accelerate progress to end hunger and malnutrition. Likewise, Botswana can provide guidance and leadership to Compact2025, and can share in South-South learning opportunities with other Compact2025 countries. Indeed, the experience of other countries—including China—can help inform Botswana’s efforts to improve food security and nutrition.
Dr. Lemogang Kwape, Minister of Health and Wellness, expressed his excitement about advancing healthy diets, nutrition, and capacity building through partnership with Compact2025. He highlighted key areas in need of greater attention, including the growing double burden of malnutrition, whereby undernutrition (such as child stunting) coexist with rising rates of overweight and obesity. It will be critical to reduce child stunting in order to achieve Botswana’s development plans and its Vision 2036. However, more data is needed to track and monitor progress on key nutrition indicators.
By working together, Botswana and Compact2025 aim to address key issues such as climate change and water scarcity, and help take advantage of opportunities such as in agricultural trade to improve livelihoods and achieve food security and nutrition. Compact2025 will continue to build momentum toward these goals in Botswana. Looking forward, the initiative will co-host a national roundtable discussion with key food security and nutrition stakeholders in Botswana in 2020.