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The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2018

The 2018 edition scores and ranks the performance of 52 African governments in improving the wellbeing of children. The report uses a robust, rights-based statistical methodology – the Child-Friendliness Index – and a wide range of data to measure and track progress in the commitment of African governments to children.

The report will be launched by Mrs. Graça Machel, Chair of ACPF’s International Board of Trustees, on 2 November 2018 in Addis Ababa in the presence of government officials, representatives of international and regional organisations and CSOs working on children’s issues.

EN 2018
FR 2018
CFI 2018

The African Report on Child Wellbeing series

The African Report on Child Wellbeing is ACPF’s flagship advocacy publication to promote child wellbeing and state accountability in Africa. The report regularly assesses the extent to which African governments are living up to their commitments and provides critical analyses of national efforts to formulate and implement child-sensitive laws and policies.

Feedback on the African Report on Child Wellbeing

  • Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG)

    Dear Friends,
    A justice system based. on respect for the rights of the child is critical for addressing incidents of violence against children, as well as safeguarding the rights of child victims and witnesses. I, therefore, welcome the launch of"' 10" a documentary on child justice in Africa, as an important alert to Governments around the world about the critical

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    Marta Santos Pais Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (SRSG)
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Influencing Change



African governments have an impressive record in their formal accession to the relevant child-focused international treaties but the extent of their commitment to children’s issues varies widely, and the gap between promises and reality remains wide in many countries. What is it that is right that child-friendly governments are doing, which poorly-performing countries can emulate?

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See Media Highlights
  • The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2008

    The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2008

    How child-friendly are African governments?
    Extensive news wire coverage following Nairobi launch including Associated Press (US), Reuters, Reuters Alert, AFP (France), Xinhua (China), EFE (Spanish), DPA, EPD (Germany). Associated Press story generated US-wide coverage in many of the country’s leading media such as Washington Post, Kansas City Star, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, Fox News, Seattle Times and many others (selection in cuttings file). Widespread African coverage through local launch event, widespread distribution of press release and invitations to Kenyan ministry meeting with ACPF in Nairobi – including Kenyan Standard, Kenya Times, local radio stations, BBC Africa service, BBC Swahili Service, BBC French Africa Service, Kenya Broadcasting, BBC Africa Have Your Say discussion, SABC interviews, AllAfrica.com, African Business etc. Personal endorsement from Zeinab Badawi, BBC TV Presenter and well-known African specialist. Personal interview and BBC news online feature by Emily Buchan, BBC World Affairs editor US news channel, ABC News ran the story online, on radio and TV. Media coverage on national television during the presentation presentation of the report to the Vice President of Kenya – Hon. Kalonzo – at which he mentioned that every parliamentarian in Kenya should have a copy of the report on their desk as a reference and resource document to inform and facilitate their work
  • The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2011 Programmes aired on BBC World Service’s The World Today, Network Africa, and Focus on Africa (7 December, 2010) Article on The Guardian, “Wealthy African states failing to invest in children.” According to the article, “These findings challenge the claim that social spending in a ‘luxury’ reserved for children in rich countries and the argument that wealth will simply trickle-down. Instead, the report re-politicises the process by which a country’s wealth is translated into the well-being of its citizens... Reports such as this one can expose bad arguments like, ‘We can’t afford to spend more’. Understanding when and why some governments do indeed ‘budget for children’ is as important as identifying those that don’t” News wire coverage from APA: Austria Presse Agentur, resulting in an article titled, “Few African countries budgeting for children, new report reveals” Widespread international coverage, with articles appearing in the Huffington Post, AfroNews24, Earth Times, The Africa News, Medical News Today, Catholic Information Service for Africa (CISA), The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, India Times, Club of Mozambique, Tanzania Times, The Citizen (Tanzania), The Namibian Sun, and I on Sudan.
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ACPF Publications on Governance and Wellbeing

Measuring & Monitoring Accountability

Data & Statistics

Background Reports to the African Report on Child Wellbeing

From our photo album

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Mr David Mugawe, Executive Director, ACPF, (2010-2012), H.E. Prime Minister Aires Bonifacio Ali, Mozambique (2010-2012), H.E. Joachim Chissano, President of Mozambique (1986-2005)
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Mr David Mugawe, Executive Director, ACPF, (2010-2012) presenting the report to H.E. Joachim Chissano, President of Mozambique (1986-2005)
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Nelson Mandela’s widow has warned Africa could become the continent of a billion “angry, underfed, under-educated and under-employed” young people by 2050, unless African governments act to invest in their children.

In advance of the publication of a major report on child rights across Africa, Graça Machel has expressed concern that a “toxic combination” of undernutrition, poor education and the world’s fastest-growing youth populations pose a threat to the continent’s future.

“Even though our youth have the potential to transform Africa, if neglected, they could exacerbate poverty and inequality while threatening peace, security and prosperity,” said Machel, chair of the international board of trustees of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which will publish the 2018 Africa Report on Child Wellbeing on Friday.

The report, which ranks 52 nations on how they are meeting child rights under international conventions, warns that massive investment is needed to prevent a billion children and young people from becoming undernourished, semi-illiterate or illiterate, and jobless or underemployed by 2050. Africa’s child and youth population is predicted to reach 750 million by 2030, and one billion by the middle of the century – representing approximately 40% of the global child and youth population.

The ACPF report, which analysed progress on the “child-friendliness” index of African governments over the past decade, highlighted “remarkable improvements” in the survival and overall wellbeing of African children. These included an almost 50% reduction in child mortality over 15 years and increased access to primary education. But the study expressed concern that child malnutrition and substandard education in many counties was creating a “crisis” in human development for the future.

“Africa is on the verge of a serious human development crisis, which carries grave consequences for the social and economic wellbeing of its people and for the future of the continent,” said the report’s authors.

“There are many reasons for concern,” said Dr Assefa Bequele, the ACPF’s executive director. “Undernutrition remains a serious and persistent problem. It is the single biggest challenge for Africa’s children. Stunting remains unacceptably high, at 30.4%. Up to half of all deaths in under-fives are associated with undernutrition. And while African children may attend school in large numbers, they are not learning. Two in every five children leave primary school without learning how to read, write or do simple arithmetic.”

The report named the 11 most child-friendly governments as Mauritius, Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Morocco and Lesotho.

South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Zambia, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Eritrea were rated the least child-friendly countries.
Rankings are based on indicators including nutrition, education, budgets and social protection.

Spending on education across Africa has stagnated at an average of 4% of GDP over the past two decades, the study found. More than half of all girls do not attend secondary school. Zambia and Central African Republic allocated just 1% of GDP to education, while Lesotho and Botswana spent more than 10%.

Child undernutrition cost Ethiopia 16.5% of its GDP – and 5.6% in Uganda – said the report.

The study found that while many countries have laws, policies and institutions governing child rights, many laws are discriminatory and inconsistent with international standards. The continuing incidence of child labour, child marriage and violence against children showed a wide gap between rhetoric and action, as well as poor enforcement of laws.

For instance, while 36 out of 52 countries set the marriageable age at 18 or above for both sexes, three in 10 African children are married before the age of 18. In Sudan, girls as young as 10 are allowed to marry.

The report’s authors called for urgent action to tackle undernutrition and poor education, as well as more job creation and greater economic opportunities for young people.