takes part in Global Hunger Index conference was Monday, represented by its Assistant Online Editor, Edmund Smith-Asante, at an international news briefing on the just released 2010 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report from our offices in Accra.

Mr. Smith-Asante was one of few journalists from 25 countries worldwide and the first of two Ghanaian journalists to contribute during the international media briefing on the report, which was conducted through a live telephone conference.

The other Ghanaian journalist was Michael Ahuma of the Ghana News Agency (GNA).

The hour-long telephone conference was addressed by a co-author of the report, Marie Ruel, director of the International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) Poverty, Health and Nutrition division and Tom Arnold, CEO of Concern Worldwide, an international NGO, which contributed to the report.

Setting the tone for the conference, Marie Ruel said the 2010 GHI showed a marked improvement of 24% over the 1990 GHI figures, disclosing that sub-Saharan Africa experienced 14% reduction in hunger, whereas South Asia experienced 25% reduction and the Caribbean 40% reduction.

She stated that under-nutrition of children, which is the focus of the report, may result in they not performing well in school in the long term and inevitable death in the short term in serious cases.

Responding to a question later on Ghana’s sterling performance on the 2010 GHI, Marie Ruel said “Ten to fifteen years of very solid performance contributed to the success story in Ghana.”

She added that the improvement in Ghana’s Global Hunger Index score of 23.4 in 1990 to 10.0 was one of the largest leaps in the 20 year period.

For his part, Tom Arnold expressed his joy that there is now political momentum on the issue of malnourishment and under-nutrition and was optimistic that it would contribute immensely towards the reduction and eradication of hunger.

Although he was not able to give specifics of countries that have began showing commitment in that area, he responded to a question posed by that “22 African countries have signed up to a compact” to address the issue.

Tom Arnold also divulged after being quizzed on the regularity of the GHI that the 2010 report is the fifth to be released and that availability of data had greatly influenced its periodic compilation.

He however stated that having been able to make much headway in that direction, the Global Hunger Index would be produced annually from henceforth.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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