"WE MUST ACT NOW: The Children Living in Poverty Cannot Wait"

Keynote Address from Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo

Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo, member of the International Board of Trustees of the African Child Policy Forum and Former Vice-Chair person of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, provided the keynote address at, 'Putting Children First': Identifying Solutions and Taking Action to Tackle Poverty and Inequality in Africa - International Conference 23-25th October 2017, Addis Ababa

We must act now because the burden of child poverty is enormous and unacceptable. We can act now more purposefully because the evidence is there from reserach, policy and practice that success is possible in Africa
— Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo

The inspirational speech first highlighted the positive developments across Africa in social and economic sectors, and the increasing commitment by African governments to combat child poverty, for example in the adoption of Africa's Agenda for Children 2040: Fostering and Africa Fit for Children. She emphasised how these developments lay an initial foundation to create enabling environments for social transformation and sustainable development with immense implications for combating child poverty and deprivation. However the urgency to fight child poverty remains strong, and despite positive change the state of child poverty is heavy and unacceptable across the region and the world.

Looking forward she went on to ask what are the solutions to Africa's child poverty challenges.  She noted that research and experience shows some immediate solutions for ending child poverty are available and affordable, but more is needed to be done to understand what works best for children, particularly in places of instability, conflict and weak institutional capacity.

The speech also highlighted the importance of embracing the voices of children, ensuring the mechanisms are in place to learn directly from young lives, striving to go beyond the immediate protections and relief from deprivation, and achieve transformative change for children taking into account their aspirations. 

Finally she urges us all as a coalition, individual organisations, and with our national partners to find best ways to engage politicians and policy makers on poverty eradication strategies for ensuring that children are truly being put first. 

To read the full keynote speech click HERE



Dr Agnes Akosua Aidoo is a specialist in policy advocacy on children's and women's rights. She was a Vice-Chairperson and Rapporteur of the UN Committtee on the Rights of the Child (2007-2013). For 10 years she has worked as a lecturer in History at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana and Assistant Professor of History and African Studies at UCLA. She is also member of the board of trustees, African Child Policy Forum.