African child 'well-being' rated
|By Emily Buchanan|
Comparing neighbours Eritrea, Ethiopia, Central African Republic and Chad were considered to be among the least child-friendly countries. Malawi ranks first in its budgetary commitment to children, but has the 45th lowest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in Africa. And Equatorial Guinea ranks 44th in its budgetary commitment, but has one of the highest GDPs per capita in Africa. Dr Assefa Bequele, the Executive Director of ACPF, says the usual style of UN development reports which compare countries across the globe are easily dismissed by African governments. "Comparing Switzerland to Rwanda is pointless; the only thing they have in common is both are land-locked," he says. "The idea is to encourage countries to become more child-centred by showing how they compare to their neighbours." When it comes to protecting children from harm and exploitation, Kenya comes out top. It has laws against harmful traditional practices, trafficking and sexual exploitation, and is one of the few countries where corporal punishment is banned in schools and prisons. However, the report found that a third of African countries offer no protection against child trafficking, and a quarter do not outlaw female genital mutilation. Because this report has been compiled by an African organisation for Africa, it may have more traction across the continent. It will be repeated every two years to monitor progress. Its authors expect countries that do focus on their children to develop faster than those which do not. "The countries that invest in children will have a more productive work-force and the foundation of a more peaceful and democratic country. The investment will certainly pay off," says Dr Bequele.