The rapidly increasing of children and youth population in Africa poses a great challenge, which could otherwise be an opportunity if well harnessed, a new report revealed.
The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2018: Progress in the Child-Friendliness of African Governments, which was published in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Friday, warned that Africa could be home to a billion angry, under-fed, under-educated and under-employed children and young people by 2050.
The report also urges African governments to commit themselves to massive long-term investment in nutrition, health and education of their children and young people so as to avert the danger.
Noting the challenges rising from the population boom in the continent, the report indicates that Africa is sitting “on a demographic time bomb.”
“Without massive long-term investment in nutrition, healthcare, education and employment, the growing child and youth population could become a huge burden, exacerbating poverty, inequality, unemployment and instability and creating a serious human development crisis,” it showed.
Assefa Bequele, Executive Director of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which compiled the report, said that Africa can choose to reap the demographic dividend, nurture its human capital and accelerate sustainable and equitable development.
“Children have the potential to transform Africa – but if neglected, they will exacerbate the burden of poverty and inequality, whilst posing a serious threat to peace, security and prosperity,” Bequele said.
According to ACPF, close to half of all deaths in under-fives in Africa are associated with under-nutrition, while African children may attend school in large numbers, but they are not learning. Two in every five children leave primary school without learning how to read, write or do simple arithmetic.
The report was compiled based on the Child-Friendliness Index (CFI), which ranks 52 African nations on progress towards realizing the rights and wellbeing of children.
The CFI rates countries including Tunisia, South Africa, Egypt and Namibia as the most child-friendly African countries.
While South Sudan, Cameroon, Zambia, Liberia and Eritrea were among the least child-friendly countries.
The ranking was made based on a range of indicators including nutrition, education, budgets and social protection, it was indicated.