The Economics of Reducing Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa
This working paper estimates the economic costs and returns when African nations invest in nutrition, resulting in cost:benefit ratios calculations that range from 7 to 21 depending on the country. The author describes how, in debates regarding African economic development strategies, it had long been assumed that increases in human capital come through investments in the formal education system, but that this is only partially true. This paper goes on to describe how Africa’s route to human capital relies on access to relevant schooling as well as also to broader knowledge and skills needed in the global economy. It argues that human capital is an important determinant of labor productivity, and that investments in nutrition–particularly in the nutrition of very young children–should be seen as equally important given the potentially large economic gains.
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