The international community has praised former President John Agyekum Kufuor as he retires from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
The former president has been co-chair of the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition since its inception in 2013.
Through his leadership, the Panel has delivered 18 evidence-based policy and technical briefs covering various aspects of food systems, together with two foresight reports.
“It has also convened several round table events with governments in Sub- Saharan Africa and South Asia to inform decision-makers on evidence-based policies to help deliver healthy diets for all.
Fellow co-chair, Sir John Beddington said, “I speak on behalf of my fellow Panel members when I say we have been very privileged to have worked alongside John Kufuor during the last seven years.
“His knowledge and status have both enriched our work and given us unparalleled access to leaders across Africa, and beyond.”
“Whilst President Kufuor is irreplaceable, the Global Panel will ensure that his vision, desire and passion to transform food systems so they provide safe, affordable and accessible diets that support human and planetary health, will continue,” a statement on the website of the Panel said.
Wendy Morton who is Minister for European Neighbourhood and the Americas at the Foreign Commonwealth Office in the UK and MP for Aldridge-Brownhills congratulated the former president on his retirement.
In a tweet, she said; “tackling global issues like malnutrition needs tireless leadership and dedication which John A. Kufuor gave ceaselessly.”
“As he retires as co-chair of the Global Panel, I thank him for his work to improve food systems, helping people live healthier lives and protecting our planet,” she noted.
The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition is an independent international group of leaders who hold, or have held, high office and show strong personal commitment to improving nutrition.
It was formally established in August 2013 at the Nutrition for Growth Summit in London and is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
It works with international, multi-sector stakeholders, to help governments in low- and middle-income countries develop evidence-based policies that make high quality diets safe, affordable and accessible.
As former President of Ghana, winner of the World Food Prize for Food and Agriculture in 2011, and former World Food Programme Global Ambassador against Hunger, Mr. Kufuor has gained global acclaim for his unique understanding of how food systems can support better nutrition and sustainable agriculture.
His wealth of knowledge, high status and positive influence have allowed the Global Panel to effect change at the very highest level.
He founded the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative, alongside Global Panel member and President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwimi Adesina, and the late Mr Kofi Annan (1938-2018), former Secretary-General of the United Nations.
This high-level initiative is now driving political engagement to advance nutrition in Africa.
It is led by an eminent group of ALN Champions, comprising of current and former heads of state, finance ministers and leaders with the power to catalyse and sustain high-level political leadership and commitment to end malnutrition in Africa.
The former President was also instrumental in helping the Global Panel convene high-level inter-Ministerial meetings in Ghana, including with His Excellency Nana Akufo-Addo, where there was agreement to accelerate progress to tackle malnutrition in Ghana.
This culminated in signing a consensus statement in March 2019, which pointed the way forward for multi-sectoral action on food systems to promote healthy diets.
Through the John A. Kufuor Foundation, President Kufuor has also maintained his heartfelt support to fight all forms of malnutrition in Ghana.
Partnering with the United Nations World Food Programme, he drove forward a nationwide strategic review of Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG2) leading to President Akufo-Addo launching the Ghana Zero Hunger Strategic Review Report in 2017.
He has also supported the inauguration of the Ghana Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to ensure that nutrition advocacy is consolidated and more effective.
At the heart of all his achievements is President Kufuor’s personal desire to see food systems transformed so that they provide safe, affordable and healthy diets for all whilst protecting and nurturing planetary resources.
He has recently stated that “food and nutrition are central to the stability of mankind.”
“And while the former president is stepping down from active duty as Co-Chair of the Global Panel, his unparalleled expertise will still be called upon from time to time and his legacy will continue to influence generations to come,” the Panel said in a statement.