Much of Africa’s population story is focused in the potential of the future demographic dividend, when the working-age population surges and drives economic growth and transformation.
But what of children today – what kind of world are African children growing up in?
Data from the African Report on Child Wellbeing shows that between 2008 and 2013, is that the African continent has become a more suitable place for its children today than it was a decade ago. On average, there was an increase of about 11.5% in the child-friendliness scores of African governments between 2008 and 2013.
In the 2013 child-friendliness rankings, Mauritius, South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde, Rwanda, Lesotho, Algeria, Swaziland and Morocco emerged as the ten most child-friendly countries in Africa. These countries put in place national laws and policies to protect children from violence and mistreatment; and they have allocated adequate budgets for sectors targeting children, while ensuring that those allocations translate into better child wellbeing outcomes.
The majority of Africans also believe that children growing up today will be better off financially than their parents, though it’s a slim majority, at 54%.
The most optimistic are Ethiopia and Nigeria, which express an overwhelming positive sentiment about the financial prospects of the next generation, out of nine African countries surveyed by Pew Research Global.
84% of respondents from Ethiopia say that the next generation has better prospects than the current one. It’s a reflection of the good vibes recent economic growth has created in the country, which grew by 10.3% in 2014 – one of the fastest growing in the world.
Similarly, 84% of Nigerians expect a brighter future for the next generation; despite a recent dip in oil revenues and a steep currency slide, Nigerians still believe in their country’s long-term prospects – possibly due to the warm glow that Muhammadu Buhari’s recent electoral victory and the subsequent peaceful transition created. Just 11% say today’s children will have it worse.
Burkina Faso is third, with 71% upbeat about a brighter future, and Senegal fourth, at 64%.
Image source: Children play on the beach in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa. (Photo/ Flickr/ Stringer_Bel)
Image source: Children from a school for acrobats in Conakry, Guinea show off their skills. (Photo/ Flickr/ Julien Harneis)