African Report on Child Wellbeing 2013: Towards Greater Accountability to Africa’s Children


The 2013 African report on child wellbeing, published on 18 November by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), reports that Africa has become a better place for children compared to five years ago.

The report analyses and ranks the performance of 52 African governments in a Child-Friendly Index comparing progress since the first ranking in 2008. Developed by ACPF – an independent, not-for-profit, pan-African institution of policy research and dialogue on the African child – 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 “most child-friendly” are Mauritius (also top of the ranking in 2008), South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Lesotho, Algeria, Swaziland and Morocco. Those scoring lowest and categorised as the “least child-friendly” are Chad, Eritrea, Sao Tome 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. It also goes on to highlight countries that have improved over the past five years, which include Swaziland (rising 36 places since the 2008 ranking), Gambia (jumping 29 places) and Liberia (moving up 20 places). Of the 52 countries ranked, some have remained consistently child-friendly over the past five years, including Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Cape Verde, Algeria and Morocco. In all of these countries political commitment has been translated into action in the legal, budgetary and political realms. Others have continued to perform poorly and remain ranked among the “least child-friendly” both in 2008 and 2013, including Chad, Eritrea, Sao Tome and Principle, Comoros and CAR. The report also considers how much of a voice Africa’s children have in the matters that affect their daily lives and their futures.

The report details key measures African governments need to take to further improve the life situation of children in Africa and these include:

  • Investing in prevention and treatment of killer diseases and re-enforcing maternal and infant nutrition interventions;
  • ensuring universal quality primary and secondary education;
  • increasing public investments in sectors linked to children such as education, health, and social protection;
  • improving legal protection of children and enforcement; and most importantly
  • enhancing accountability and good governance