Country Nutrition Situation

The Global Nutrition Report reveals Ethiopia is currently not on-track to meet any of its nutrition-related targets. However, although more progress needs to be made, the country does show signs of improvement in some areas. For example, the number of infants being exclusively breast-fed during the first five months of their lives now stands at 59%. The amount of under-fives affected by stunting and wasting has also decreased (to 37% and 7% respectively), but these figures remain higher than the overall Africa average. No progress has been made in several other key areas. Almost a quarter of women of reproductive age are now affected by anaemia, while 11% of adults experience diabetes. Furthermore, 9% of over-18s are obese – although this figure is well under half the regional average.


Hana Yemane Wodajo

SBN Ethiopia Coordinator (Interim)

Governance structure

In Ethiopia, the network is co-convened by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

It is overseen by an Executive Committee (EC), which is composed of members from the private sector, government, and development sector. It is co-chaired by representative from the Ministry of Industry, along with a chairperson who is elected from the private sector and holds the position for two years. This Committee outlines the strategic plans for SBN Ethiopia, guides their activities and initiatives, advocates for business engagement in nutrition, and recruits new members to the network.

The EC is advised by the Technical Advisory Group (TAG), which also helps establish links and collaborations between SBN Ethiopia and other relevant bodies. The EC and TAG are both supported by a Co-ordinator and a Secretariat.

What is SBN doing in Ethiopia

SBN Ethiopia’s three-year strategic plan (2021-2023) outlines seven priority areas of focus in order to tackle nutrition concerns within the country. These include:

Supporting food fortification and the creation of supplements – to help reduce nutrient deficiencies among the population.

Engage in school nutrition/feeding programmes – working with the government to introduce more healthy snacks and meal options into schools.

Focus on workforce nutrition – educating employers around the importance of good nutrition for their staff, and assist them in offering healthy food options to employees on-site.

Supporting ‘Super Cereal’ producers – to make their products more accessible and affordable for low-income consumers, and to further extend into the international market to boost the country’s economy.

Research further into distribution channels – to identify gaps in the chain and recruit technologically-minded businesses to help reduce the cost of transportation, lower post-harvest losses, and enhance food safety.

Explore options for processed food options – to determine potential prospects for chain development and value addition in sectors such as potato, and in developing products such as pasta and granola.

Advocate for nutrition-sensitive agriculture and agribusinesses – and work to create a more enabling environment for them to thrive.

The network recognises that, to make headway in these priorities, gaining support from private sector actors is crucial. As such, it has also outlined a further set of activities and initiatives through which to achieve this engagement.

  • 1 Facilitate meaningful partnerships and investment options in nutrition. Working with financial institutions to create start-up funds for SMEs and collaborate on pitch competitions to award grant prizes.
  • 2Improve nutrition policies and regulations. Providing input and recommendations to government officials and legislators will help improve the wider food industry and encourage ease of business among nutrition-focused businesses.
  • 3 Develop a strong SBN Ethiopia membership. Continued growth will enhance the network’s visibility within the food and nutrition community and encourage more businesses to join.
  • 4 Increase business engagement in the non-nutrition sector. Educating ‘external’ businesses on the importance of nutritioncan have a positive knock-on effect by encouraging them to engage in areas such as workplace/school nutrition and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
  • 5 Improving nutrition sensitivity in the Ethiopian food system and agricultural value chain. Working to increase the focus on nutrition within smallholder farming communities and Agro industry parks.
  • 6 Increase the availability of fortified products and supplements. Recognise the key challenges around this, and explore opportunities to enhance food fortification throughout the supply chain.
  • 7 Increase nutrition awareness and demand. Creating materials for and supporting the roll out of awareness campaigns to enhance knowledge among both the public and private sector, in turn driving demand for nutritious products.