Since the outbreak of civil war in Yemen in 2015, malnutrition in the Middle Eastern country has reached critical—and unprecedented—levels.
According to UNICEF, the United Nations program that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries, nearly half a million Yemeni youth are now suffering from malnutrition and another 2.2 million people require urgent care.
Because severe acute malnutrition has quickly become one of the most common causes of death for children across Yemen, there is an urgent need for therapeutic food that could help save these young lives.
Across the Gulf of Aden, in Africa, a factory on the outskirts of Nairobi called Insta Products produces ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), a high-calorie fortified peanut-based food product. Insta sells these sachets to relief organizations, including UNICEF, which distribute RUTF in conflict-affected areas and other emergency zones, particularly across the East African region and Yemen.
In 2016, IFC invested $7 million in Insta Products—currently the only manufacturer of RUTF in East Africa, and a top five supplier to UNICEF globally. The investment aimed to help the company expand its RUTF capacity and more than double its sales on the back of an increased supply. Half of the loan was contributed by IFC and the other half through the Private Sector Window of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), which IFC manages. That in turn will be supported by an additional $4 million loan from Danish government fund IFU. This investment will help support timely delivery of 310,000 additional cartons of RUTF and help treat 300,000 more people from acute malnutrition.