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Report finds massive injustices have contributed to rise in child hunger across Africa

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Picture: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings – A Malawian child stands in front of a maize crop near the capital Lilongwe, Malawi. About 14 million people face hunger in Southern Africa.

NAIROBI, WASHINGTON, DC, NEW DELHI, January 25, 2023 / — The 2023 report from Laureates and Leaders for Children and the 100 Million campaign, Justice for Africa’s Children, launches today. The report exposes the massive injustices created and perpetuated by discrimination, which are disproportionately harming the world’s most vulnerable children.

The continued rise in global wealth and many pre-COVID gains in children’s rights in the rest of the world have hidden a harsh reality in plain sight: child labour, malnutrition, and children out of school have all increased across Africa, even before the pandemic.

Since the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

the number of child labourers in Africa increased by over 20 million (16.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa). There are now more child labourers in Africa (92.2 million) than there are children in the EU (80.3 million);

the number children who are out of school at primary, lower-secondary, and upper-secondary levels in sub-Saharan Africa increased by over 12 million; in total 106 million children are now out of school across all of Africa; and

the number of children suffering from stunting in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 500,000, with more than 64 million African children overall suffering from forms of malnutrition.

The Justice for Africa’s Children report finds that international and national injustices spanning economic growth, tax, debt, climate, international agreements, aid, conflict, and governance have cost sub-Saharan African countries more than $4 trillion in the first 6 years of the SDGs. While national injustices such as conflict and poor governance cost African children billions in lost public services, $3.8 trillion was lost as a result of international injustices, beyond the control of African governments – 95% of the $4 trillion total.

Speaking in advance of the report launch, Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Laureate, and founder of Laureates and Leaders for Children, stated: “How is it possible that in forty years, wealth has increased by almost $30,000 per person in North America, but only increased by $96 in sub-Saharan Africa? Is an African child worth only a tiny fraction of a North American child? This is a gross injustice. This is discrimination. We urgently need to build a new movement for justice, for every African child to thrive in their early years, to go to school, and to live in freedom.”

The report follows a Joint Statement to the Sixth European Union – African Union Summit in 2022, signed by 96 Nobel Laureates and world leaders, and calls for a global child benefit, increased financing for education and school feeding programmes, and a foundation for justice including an increase in African representation in global decision-making bodies such as the G20 and the IMF.

The report launch will see inputs from high-profile African activists and leaders, including 2011 Liberian Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, businessman and philanthropist Dr. Mo Ibrahim, WHO DG Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s SG Martin Chungong, and All Africa Students’ Union SG, Peter Kwasie Kodjie, alongside former Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lӧfven, and Mr. Satyarthi.

Article published by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation US (