Most governments have an impressive record in their formal accession to the relevant international child rights treaties. But the extent of their commitment to children varies widely and the gap between promises and reality remains wide. In response, we, at The African Child Policy Forum, developed an approach to measure government performance in realising children’s rights and ensuring their wellbeing. The approach quantitatively measures how well govern- ments are doing in meeting their national and international obligations to children through the Child-friendliness Index. This composite index is used to assess and rank the performance of all 52 African governments using a common set of indicators. It provides an indication of how prioritised children’s issues are in African governments’ policy agendas, and the extent to which those agendas are child-friendly. According to the Child-friendliness Index ranking, Mauritius and Namibia emerged as the first and second most child-friendly governments, respectively, in Africa. In addition to these two, the “most child-friendly governments” group consists of both countries with high economic performance as well as those with a low status. The analysis also showed that national wealth and a high level of development are not guarantees of child wellbeing. The results further indicated that change and progress towards ensuring child wellbeing are possible and feasible even at very low levels of development and calls for: (a) adoption and implementation of effective laws and policies; and (b) a policy of child budgeting that prioritises the needs of children.
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