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November 22, 2008

Best and Worst African Countries for Children to Live in

NAIROBI (AFP) . Mauritius and Namibia are the best African nations for children to live in, while Guinea Bissau and Eritrea are the worst, according to a report released in Nairobi on Thursday.

The report, "The African Report on Child Wellbeing: How child-friendly are African governments," surveyed 52 African nations except lawless Somalia and Western Sahara, which is still fighting for independence from Morocco.

The top 10 were Mauritius, Namibia, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Algeria and Cape Verde.

"These countries have put in place child-friendly laws and policies, use a large share of their resources to provide for the basic needs of children and have improved the use of health and education services," the report said.

Least child-friendly countries are: Guinea Bissau, Eritrea, Central African Republic, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Liberia, Chad, Swaziland, Comoros and Guinea.

"Many of these countries have not ratified the relevant child rights treaties, do not have adequate legal provisions to protect children against abuse and harmful traditional practices like early marriage, do not have juvenile justice systems, do not prohibit corporal punishment and do not exert the maximum effort to provide for children's basic needs," the report said.

Officials said that children in Africa, a poor continent notorious for using child soldiers, are still suffering at the hands of care-free governments.

"Life for millions of Africa's children remains short, poor, insecure and violent. We hope this report will ensure that children are put at the forefront of governments' attention," said Stefan van der Swaluw, Africa's director for International Child Support.

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