Home CELEB COLUMNISTS Opinion (24/01/20): GAIN’s Partnerships In Africa, By Ayo Oyoze Baje

Opinion (24/01/20): GAIN’s Partnerships In Africa, By Ayo Oyoze Baje

Ayo Oyoze Baje

About GAIN

The Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) is an alliance driven by the vision of a world without malnutrition. Created in 2002 at a Special Session of the UN General Assembly on Children, GAIN supports public-private partnerships to increase access to the missing nutrients in diets necessary for people, communities and economies to be stronger and healthier.

An estimated 400 million people, most at risk of malnutrition are benefitting from sustained and affordable nutritionally-enhanced food products in more than 25 countries. Half of the beneficiaries are women and children.GAIN is a Swiss Foundation headquartered in Geneva with a special international status granted by the Swiss government. Its worldwide presence includes an office in Washington D.C. as well as regional and country representatives in Johannesburg, New Delhi, Cairo, Nairobi, Kabul and Shanghai to support its activities.

GAIN’s Nutrition Program in Africa

Twelve Africans die every minute as a result of hunger and malnutrition. Since it began in 2003, GAIN has awarded grants to support large scale national food fortification and infant and young child nutrition programs. Grants cover activities including development of policy and quality assurance and control.

Also important is the purchase of vitamin and mineral premix and fortification equipment and support of product development and marketing.

Projects, which run from three to five years, must be sustainable, compliant with international standards and able to generate positive public health outcomes.GAIN’s programs are in Cote d’ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda.GAIN’s Regional office for East and Southern Africa in Johannesburg and GAIN Kenya Country Office provide on-the-ground support to GAIN-funded programs and essential local expertise for project development and implementation.

GAIN is also a partner in the Amsterdam Initiative Against Malnutrition, a collaborate effort between the public and private sector to eliminate malnutrition for 100million people in Africa by 2015. In addition, GAIN has supported the African Union with the development of a food and nutrition security strategy.

GAIN’s National Food Fortification Program benefits large populations through market-based approaches. Projects reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies and associated health problems (e.g. neural tube birth defects, anemia, and impaired mental development). Particularly, in women of reproductive age and children, by adding vitamins and minerals to foods and condiments consumed by mass populations (i.e. wheat four, vegetable oil, maize meal, sugar, salt).

  • 1 in four Africans is undernourished?
  • 68 percent of the 400 million people GAIN is reaching through its programs are in Africa.
  • 12 African countries in GAIN’s Nutrition Program.

A National Fortification Alliance, a coalition of governments, business, international organizations and civil society guides GAIN’s investment as part of national food fortification programs. These programs are sustainable once fortification is mandated by government or adopted by industry.

GAIN’s programs are supported by the GAIN Premix Facility (GPF). GPF provides services related to the procurement and certification of premix, a commercially prepared blend of vitamins and minerals used to fortify foods. The GPF supports nutrition programs and private sector food producers in Africa to access affordable, certified and high quality premix. It has delivered premix in Burkina Faso, Cote d’ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda, helping to reach millions of consumers with affordable, effective vitamins and minerals, and is actively looking to expand operations across Africa.

The GAIN-UNICEF Universal Salt Iodization Partnership Project enables large populations in Africa to consume adequately iodized salt through proper quality assurance and control at production. The partnership supports small-scale salt producers through the creation of salt bank co-operatives and works with the food industry to replace non-iodized salt with iodized salt in manufacturing process recipes.

GAIN also delivers nutritious foods to specific populations. For example, GAIN’s Infant and Young Child Nutrition Program provides incentives to the private sector to commercialize affordable fortified foods that complement breast milk from six months of age and to distribute them to low-income families.


GAIN is working with Nigeria’s National Agency for food and Drug Administration and Control,NAFDAC to support the fortification of wheat and maize flour with iron, vitamin A and B-vitamins and of vegetable oil and sugar with vitamin A. The project contributes to the mandatory National Food Fortification Program, which aims to reduce micronutrient deficiencies among vulnerable populations.


GAIN supports the Food and Drugs Board of Ghana to lead the national program to reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies by fortifying wheat flour with iron, zinc, vitamin A, folic acid and other B-vitamins and vegetable oil with vitamin A. As of March 2010, the project was reaching an estimated 47percent of the population with fortified wheat flour.

Upon the request of WHO, GAIN participated in an analysis of Ghana’s readiness to strengthen national nutrition programs. GAIN is also working with Ghana Health Services to support the implementation of the country’s Infant and Young child Feeding Action Plan. In addition, Gain supports Ghana’s National Codex Delegation to review and advance national and international food standards.

Activities in Ghana, a target country of the GAIN-UNICEF Universal Salt Iodization Partnership Project, focus on the establishment of salt bank co-operatives where centralized iodized salt centers will be owned and established by small scale salt producers. Access to a regular and affordable supply of potassium iodate through a business plan of repayment and regular supply of iodate through the GAIN Premix Facility is also a national priority. Other activities include overall quality assurance and control at production at iodized salt factories and efforts to replace non-iodized salt with iodized salt in processed foods.

GAIN is investing in Yedent Agro Processing Ventures to develop and market an instant maize-based porridge product fortified with micro-nutrients and legumes. The project aims to improve the nutrition of children aged 6 to 24 months.

The GAIN Business Alliance (BA)

This is a uniquely positioned global business network dedicated to promoting sustainable market-driven, nutrition oriented solutions.


Utilizing GAIN’s Partnership Network and innovative tools including the GAIN premix facility and innovative finance, GAIN links and leverages the strengths of its BA members with nutrition experts, in-country implementers, academia, non governmental organizations, financial partners, institutional partners and international donors to facilitate sustainable pro-nutrition interventions that increase the availability of more nutritious and affordable products to the base of the pyramid market. These interventions increase collective return, reach and impact for the private sector while filling nutritional gaps.

The business Alliance has two key objectives:

  • Improved awareness, advocacy and knowledge sharing of
    malnutrition within the business community and beyond in
    order to;
  • Generate commitment for the development and implementation
    of market-based solutions with positive nutrition outcomes to the
    base of the pyramid market.

The BA convenes a wide range of multi-sector players to forge partnerships, network with a community of like-minded public and private stakeholders, to share best practices and to learn how companies can play a role in the fight against malnutrition as part of their core business.

As GAIN rapidly expands and diversifies its alliance membership, BA events will focus on regional strategy, engaging those BA members interested in the development of a pipeline of specific regional interventions.


GAIN utilizes email alerts and its quarterly BA Newsletter to keep its alliance members at the forefront of new developments within the nutrition, policy and business arena.


Business Case Studies are developed to highlight alliance member’s best practices and lessons learned. These studies serve as unique knowledge sharing tools for companies surveying target country markets.


GAIN’s BA Knowledge Sharing:

The Platform was launched in 2011 to create a multi-party exchange for GAIN’s rapidly growing membership.

Alliance members now have exclusive access to this community and be able to understand and contribute industry trends and best practice via discussion forums, online collaboration platform, member lists, messaging RSS feeds and project space for uploading shareable text, links and videos. The platform allows members to develop innovative ideas that progress into Impactful projects.


Co Create (fee for service)

From concept phase to the development of a specific opportunity, alliance member can use GAIN’s Project Platform to select from a suite of technical assistance and project management services including, among others: product and packaging design; food technology; local partnerships and distribution network development, social marketing and innovative financial structuring. This structure catalyses the delivery of innovative and scalable projects that produce health impact.



GAIN, in association with the International Business Leaders Forum, offers the annual GAIN Innovation Award to recognize innovation in the fight against malnutrition, improve public health and promote sustainable development. The award brings malnutrition and other health issues to the attention of the international media and encourages companies to continue seeking sustainable business solution in fight against malnutrition.



The BA welcomes companies who wish to support GAIN’s vision of a world free of malnutrition. By meeting basic criteria of good corporate governance, sustainable practices and impact on public health, businesses can apply for Business Alliance membership and choose the level of engagement which best suits their needs.


As at March 2011, BA membership wasexpanded to include: Ajinomoto Group, Akzonobel, BASF, Bel Group, Britannia Industries Ltd. Cargill Incorporated. The Coca-Cola CompanyEssentientFirmenich, Fortitech, Hexagon Nutrition, Kraft, Mars Inc.Nutriset, Pepsi Inc., Tetra Pack and Unilever.

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