Global Challenges

Action needed to fight child poverty

Poverty researchers, policymakers and NGOs put forward six concrete measures to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty in Africa.

Child holding teddy

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Unless urgent action is taken, UNICEF estimates that child poverty will increase to 167 million globally by 2030, with the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.

Poverty researchers, policymakers and NGOs that gathered at the Putting Children First conference in Addis Ababa, 23-25 October 2017, put forward six concrete measures that could break the inter-generational cycle of poverty in Africa.

Despite important strides in the fight against poverty, with near a billion people having escaped extreme poverty since 1990, child poverty remains widespread and persistent.

A concrete suggestion to address these issues is the establishment of an African Child Poverty Centre to boost knowledge and monitoring of children in poverty in order to mobilise decision-making and action for the rights of the poorest children.

Read the whole communique and the suggested priority measures

“We have a moral and a political obligation to stop the suffering of children, adolescents, and young people living in poverty. Poverty, and particularly, extreme poverty, is a violation of their human rights and we are obliged to do whatever we can to leave none of them behind”, says Alberto Cimadamore, CROP Scientific Director and co-organiser of the conference.

The Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) is an international network of scholars engaged in poverty-related research based at the University of Bergen. The network shares a thematic interest while working within a variety of disciplines such as political science, law, health, geography etc. CROP also focus on planning and developing research proposals and projects, as well as disseminating research. 

Economic and social dividends
According to UNICEF, children anywhere in the world are the most likely to be poor, and are also those most affected and deprived.

“This trend needs to be reversed to ensure these children’s successful entrance to the educational system and workforce. Child poverty should be recognised as an explicit priority area in national and international strategies, policies and programmes”, says Cimadamore.

The conference raised the need to better understand the psychosocial aspects of child poverty to develop good policies and programmes. Internalised shame and stigma they feel among peers and members of the communities in which they live can lead to depression and low self-esteem which reduce life-chances.