UNICEF chief urges African leaders to invest in children as a first

“To keep hope alive, Africa must start by keeping its children alive,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. “From Ethiopia to Liberia, from DRC [Democratic Republic of the Congo] to South Africa, children are the hope of this continent, even in the midst of crisis.”Arguing that no single measure of development predicts the future as reliably as the well-being of children, Ms. Bellamy suggested that African nations use a series of child-centred standards as their primary gauge of progress. The well-being of children should become the most important standard for measuring individual achievements as leaders, she said.Africa accounts for only 12 per cent of the world’s population, yet claims 43 per cent of the world’s child deaths, 50 per cent of maternal deaths, 70 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS and a staggering 90 per cent of children orphaned by AIDS.”No continent with such unfavourable indicators can achieve lasting development or stability without fundamentally raising their level of investment in children,” Ms. Bellamy stated. “I urge you to make investing in children your priority, and openly assessing the results your second priority. Do not wait another week or another year. Their survival – and yours – depends on it.”

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