Although millions of children worldwide have been lifted out of poverty, progress has been uneven, with children in sub-Saharan Africa facing the highest levels of mortality, poor nutrition, child marriage and illiteracy, UNICEF said in its flagship “State of the World’s Children” report released on June 28.
By 2030, nearly half of the children, 69 million, who are predicted to die before reaching the age of five would live in the region, according to the report.
Sub-Saharan Africa is also expected to be home to 9 out of 10 of the 167 million children living in extreme poverty by 2030, living under $1.90 per person a day, the UN’s children’s agency said.
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Here are some facts about children in West and Central Africa:
* Nearly six million children died before the age of five in 2015 – almost a third of these deaths were in West and Central Africa.
* Just over half of births in West and Central Africa are attended by a medical professional, such as a doctor, midwife or nurse.
* One in seven children are married by the age of 15. Nigeria has the largest number of child brides across Africa, with 23 million girls and women who were married as children.
* Less than half of births across West and Central Africa are registered, leaving children without citizenship and in danger of being trafficked or illegally adopted.
* Nearly three in 10 children are engaged in child labour.
* More than a dozen countries in West and Central Africa – including Central African Republic, Mauritania and Sierra Leone – do not meet the minimum threshold of doctors, nurses and midwives for their populations – 23 per 10,000 people.
* A quarter of primary-school aged children in West and Central Africa are out of school – some 18 million.
* Around four in 10 girls and a quarter of boys are illiterate.
* Seven in 10 children have access to quality drinking water, but only a quarter have use of good sanitation facilities.
* Some three-quarters-of-a-million children in West and Central Africa are living with HIV.