18 Nov 2013 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 18 NOV (NAMPA) Namibia was ranked 26th amongst 52 African countries in a report on child-friendliness issued by the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) on Monday.
A child-friendly government is defined as one which makes the maximum effort to meet its obligations to respect, protect and fulfil childrens rights and ensure their well-being.
Although there was an overall improvement towards child-friendliness, a large number of countries performed weaker in 2013 than they did in 2008.
The biggest fallers from 2008 to 2013 included Namibia (down 24 places), Niger (17 places down), Kenya (15 places down), Mauritania (down 15) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC - down 14 places).
The main reasons for the lower rankings of these countries in 2013 in relation to 2008 were reductions in government spending on sectors that benefit children, and relatively low performances with regard to the efficient and effective translation of resources into better child wellbeing outcomes. Countries which ranked low in the Child-friendliness Index (CFI) also have poor records in terms of acceding to international legal instruments, and have demonstrated limited progress in terms of the domestication of existing child rights instruments, the report stated.
The 10 most child-friendly countries in Africa are Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Lesotho, Algeria, Swaziland and Morocco.
The outstanding performances of these countries were due primarily to two reasons: they have put in place national laws and policies to protect children from violence and maltreatment; and they have allocated adequate budgets for sectors targeting children, while ensuring that those allocations are translated into better child wellbeing outcomes.
The 10 least child-friendly governments were those of Chad, Eritrea, São Tomé and Príncipe, Zimbabwe, Comoros, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Côte dIvoire and Mauritania.
According to the report, countries with relatively high Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita like Namibia, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Congo (Brazzaville) scored poorly.
Concerns were also raised that African governments are still not investing adequately in children.
While there has been considerable progress in national budget commitments for children, there are still significant gaps. Evidence indicated that African governments spent on average about 11 per cent of their budget on health, according to the report.
This is four percentage points lower than the 15 per cent level, to which they committed themselves in Abuja, Nigeria.
African governments also spent on average only 4.6 per cent of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education, compared to the nine per cent to which they committed in Dakar, Senegal.
The report was based on analyses from the ACPFs Child-friendliness Index and Save the Childrens Child Development Index; the United Nations Childrens Fund ((UNICEF)s ranking based on under-five mortality rate; the European Union Index of Child Wellbeing; the USAs Child and Youth Wellbeing Index; and the Human Development Index (HDI) issued by the United Nations Development Programme.
The ACPF is headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.