Namibia 7th most girl-friendly in Africa

In Namibia 7% of women aged 20 to 24 were married before the age of 18 and 15% gave birth before the age of 18.

27 November 2020 | Social Issues

ELLANIE SMIT





WINDHOEK

Namibia is the seventh most friendly country towards girls in Africa.

It ranks behind Mauritius, Tunisia, South Africa, Seychelles, Algeria and Cabo Verde.

The African Child Policy Forum last week launched the sixth edition of its African Report on Child Wellbeing.

According to the report, which ranks 52 African countries, African girls are being robbed of their future and condemned to a lifetime of discrimination and inequality.

The report indicates that 7% of women in Namibia between the ages of 20 and 24 were married before the age of 18, while 15% of women in this age group gave birth before the age of 18.

According to the report, 20.2% of women aged 15 to 49 in Namibia have been subjected to physical or sexual violence by their husbands or boyfriends.

The report says that Africa is home to 308 million girls under 18 years of age. Of these, 61% are under 10 and a quarter are in early adolescence.

The report says girls living in Africa are more likely than boys to become victims of trafficking, sexual abuse and labour exploitation.

They are also discriminated against by laws relating to marriage and inheritance, and are likely to be poorer than boys.

Girls in Africa are also at higher risk of mental health problems, more likely to be excluded from healthcare and denied a decent education, and more likely to drop out of school.

Sobering picture

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) says the coronavirus pandemic is only making things worse.

Graça Machel, chair of the ACPF International Board of Trustees, says in order to create a just and inclusive society, to prosper and ensure sustainable development, governments must invest in girls.

“The facts paint a sobering picture of the situation of girls and remind us that governments’ efforts are simply not enough and incommensurate with the myriads of challenges they are facing,” the former Mozambican first lady says.

ACPF’s unique Girl-Friendliness Index (GFI) shows that African governments are increasingly becoming more girl-friendly and that some African governments take girls’ rights and wellbeing seriously, but many do not.

Rated as the least child-friendly countries were South Sudan, Chad, Eritrea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger, Central African Republic and Comoros.

The report calls for African governments, stakeholders and the private sector to recognise that girls are key drivers of transformation. It says that improving girls’ lives can trigger chain reactions that ultimately lead towards every person’s dignity, and a peaceful and prosperous Africa.

The ACPF is an independent, not-for-profit, Pan-African institute of policy research and dialogue on the African child.

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