On the Eve of a New EU-AU Partnership, 81 Nobel Laureates and Leaders Demand Justice for Africa’s Children

On the eve of the European Union-African Union Summit, 81 Nobel laureates and world leaders, as part of Laureates and Leaders for Children, issued a statement calling for world leaders to deliver direct social protections for all children in Africa.

The statement was finalised following a roundtable consultation, chaired by Nobel Peace Laureate Leymah Gbowee, with a cross section of leaders from across Africa.
“Our children in Africa need us. With more than half of the world’s child labour in Africa, we call on each of the world’s leaders to stand up and act for the rights, dreams and future of our children,” said Kailash Satyarthi, Nobel Peace laureate and founder of Laureates and Leaders for Children.

“There is more than enough wealth for every child to be able to go to school instead of having to work to survive. The question is how we choose to share that wealth, and with whom. I urge governments to pay heed and take action and we must start with Africa.”

Ms. Gbowee said, “The transformation of Africa can be done. It is upon us to make our forefathers proud by re-shaping pan-Africanism into an inclusive, people-centered reality. Young people are the future of the continent. We can’t squander their contribution by losing them to exploitation.”

Signatories of the statement include:

  • Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
  • His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace laureate
  • Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel Peace laureate
  • Denis Mukwege, 2018 Nobel Peace laureate
  • Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace laureate

Statement excerpts:

In June 2021, the ILO and UNICEF announced the first shocking increase in the number of child labourers worldwide in two decades, during the first four years of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (2016-2019). Even before the start of the pandemic when the world grew $10 trillion richer, the number of child labourers in the world rose to an appalling 160 million children, over half of which (i.e. 86 million) are in Sub-Saharan Africa. This is the consequence of racial and systemic discrimination against Africa.

The historical and systemic exploitation of Africa is partly to blame but injustices and discrimination perpetrated by our generation are stealing the lives and the futures from millions more children. With the advent of COVID-19, these inequalities have taken on new dimensions and are increasing at a rapid pace, including through the blatant and shameful manifestation in the form of vaccine apartheid. The weight of these inequalities, unfortunately, is borne disproportionately by the poorest and most marginalised children.

The situation is aggravated by the fact that Africa has the lowest social protection coverage in the world, and functions that were the least covered include access to education, sickness benefits, benefits for children and family, unemployment protection, and pensions benefits.

We know that only 0.13% of the $12 trillion released as COVID relief globally was allocated to multilateral funding to low-income countries. The rest was largely used to bail out large corporations. The emergency IMF Special Drawing
Rights gave $2,000 per European child and $60 per African child. The international community’s continued and institutionalized subjugation of Africa is appalling and must end.
The good news is that there is a powerful and proven solution, direct social protection for children. Social protection eliminates extreme poverty and inequality which drives millions into child labour.
It has been used for decades and in richer countries is the largest item of government expenditure. Just a tiny fraction, spent in poorer countries annually would extend social protection to all children and pregnant women in low-income countries and substantially reduce extreme poverty. The globalisation of social protection is a historic idea whose time has come.
We, Laureates and Leaders for Children, stand with the children, youth, citizens and leaders of Africa to fight for our shared vision and responsibility to give every child in Africa a free, safe, healthy and educated childhood. It is time for justice for all of Africa’s children. It is time to stand with Africa.

The full statement, a list of signatories and a background note on Justice for Africa’s Children can be found here.


Laureates and Leaders for Children is a movement of visionary leaders across diverse fields of expertise and influence, committed to working together to inspire the international community to globalise compassion for the world’s most vulnerable children.
Initially convened by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Laureates and Leaders for Children was formally established in 2016 following commitments and actions taken for the benefit of marginalised children by the Nobel Laureate Class of 2014. Laureates and Leaders has grown its network of Nobel Laureates and world leaders to become an internationally influential platform for the rights of children to be free, safe, and educated, everywhere. Laureates and Leaders is an initiative of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation US.

Source: AllAfrica.com

Sign up for Updates

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of new posts by email.