Fortification is making tremendous progress in Africa. Countries often fortify wheat and maize flour as well as cooking oil, sugar, and salt as part of their comprehensive nutrition strategy. See this story and photos for a celebration of Africa's progress.
Though maize is the primary cereal consumed in many countries in Africa, less than 30% of the industrially milled maize on the continent is fortified. In 2016, representatives of government, grain milling, and development sectors from 14 countries in Africa met to deliberate the need to scale up maize flour fortification programs. Their work resulted in an Africa Maize Fortification Strategy for 2017-2026.
Nineteen countries in Africa have more than 75 grams of rice per person per day available for human consumption. In 12 of these countries, fortification of rice imports represents an opportunity to improve nutrition. Currently Mali has a voluntary, market based rice fortification program. See more information on the potential for rice fortification in Africa.
As Africa experiences a rising trend in economic growth and emerging common markets, regional bodies are harmonizing fortification standards. This facilitates trade across country borders. This has proven particularly effective in West Africa as multiple partners work together to "Fortify West Africa." See related news in English and French.
African leaders are developing national and regional standards in conjunction with World Health Organization recommendations for wheat and maize flour fortification. The private sector is being engaged to embrace flour fortification with essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, folic acid and other B vitamins.
Smarter Futures is a public-private-civic partnership which provides fortification technical support and training for flour millers, government food control staff, and other stakeholders in Africa. The Smarter Futures partnership includes the Food Fortification Initiative, AkzoNobel, Helen Keller International, the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus (IF), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Long-term engagement and collaboration among a broad-based coalition of public, private, and civic partners committed to multiple nutritional interventions is essential for Africa to improve public nutrition and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
South Africa and Nigeria were the first two countries in Africa to fortify flour. A situational analysis in Nigeria shows that regulatory monitoring is needed to help ensure that fortification reaches it maximum potential.