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African Child Policy Forum
The 2013 African report on child wellbeing, prepared under the theme “Towards greater accountability to Africa’s children”, by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), reports that Africa has become a better place for children compared to five years ago, although serious challenged remain. It is evident from the analysis in this report that African governments are increasingly child friendly, especially in terms of reducing child deaths.
This report aims to promote accountability to children and compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. It analyses and ranks the performance of 52 African governments in a child friendly index comparing progress since the first ranking in 2008. The Child Friendliness Index is based on 44 indicators that measure government’s commitment to the protection of their children, provision for their children’s basic needs and the participation of children in decisions that affect them.
The countries that score highest as the more child-friendly are Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Cap Verde, Rwanda, Lesotho, Algeria, Swaziland and Morocco. Those scoring lowest and categorised as the “least child-friendly” are Chad, Eritrea, São Tomé and Principe, Zimbabwe, Comoros, Central African Republic (CAR), Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Mauritania, most of them under-investing in education and health.
The report also reveals that the relationship between the level of a country’s wealth and its score on the Child-Friendliness Index shows no obvious association. Countries with a relatively low GDP per capita, such as Rwanda, Lesotho, Togo and Malawi scored high, whilst countries with a relatively high GDP per capita, such as Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Namibia and Congo (Brazzaville) scored poorly. Of the 52 countries ranked, some have remained consistently child-friendly over the past five years, including Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Cap Verde, Algeria and Morocco, where political commitment has been translated into action in the legal, budgetary and political realms.
The report highlights five priority areas for action aimed to improve the life situations of children, particularly the most vulnerable groups:
– Strengthening systems and capacities to enhance accountability to children;
– Further improving the survival of children and their access to basic needs and services;
– Increasing budgetary allocations to programmes benefiting children, and enhancing commitment to address growing inequality;
– Providing full legal protection for children and strengthening enforcement;
– Putting in place mechanisms to ensure children’s participation in decisions that affect them.