Report warns of demographic time-bomb in Africa

By Addis Getachew

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AA) – Africa could be home to a billion angry, underfed, undereducated, and underemployed children and young people by 2050, according to a new report.

Launching the African Report on Child Wellbeing on Friday in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa was Graca Machel, chair of the Board of Trustees of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), an institution set up a decade ago by a decision by African heads of state and government.

The demographic risk is unavoidable, the report warned, “unless governments commit to massive long-term investment in the nutrition, health and education of their children and young people.”

Without such investment, it said, the growing youth and child population of the continent could become a burden, making poverty, inequality, unemployment, and instability even worse.

The report also identified best- and worst-performing nations in terms of providing for children. Tunisia and Mauritius topped the list, while the Central African Republic, Chad, and South Sudan were called the worst in terms of child welfare.

Machel, a Mozambican politician and humanitarian, and Nelson Mandela’s wife at the time of his death in 2013, told the launch ceremony that Africans should identify what they should be doing differently in order to improve children’s well-being.

Assefa Bequele, the forum’s executive director, urged African governments to design and implement a transformative human development agenda to change the grim realities facing the continent.