Twenty years on, poverty and hunger remain Africa’s biggest challenge.

Addis Ababa, 9 October 2023 - Africa’s leading research and advocacy centre for child rights and wellbeing says governments across the continent must take urgent action to help millions of children escape the double whammy of poverty and hunger.

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which marks its 20th anniversary this month, points to a combination of climate change, poverty, armed conflict and chronic under-investment for the crisis which has left 55 million African children suffering from stunting due to malnutrition.

ACPF research shows that across Africa, 352 million children live in multidimensional poverty, with a further 110 million living on the brink. Of the 600 million children in Africa, 90 percent lack a minimum acceptable diet and 60 percent lack minimum meal frequency. 

“Once again, African children find themselves at the centre of a growing hunger crisis,” said ACPF Executive Director Dr Joan Nyanyuki. “From the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, millions of children face a bleak reality of hunger, slow starvation and even death. They are the victims of our inability to learn from past mistakes.”

“We have been warning for two decades that hunger is the greatest challenge facing Africa’s children. Nine out of ten African children don’t get enough to eat and hunger contributes to nearly half of all deaths in childhood,” she added. “Child hunger is driven by extreme poverty, government inaction, uneven and unequal economic growth, and a broken food system. Add gender inequality, forced displacement, armed conflict and climate change to that toxic cocktail, and we really do have a crisis on our hands.”

ACPF is marking its 20th anniversary with the launch of two new hard-hitting reports and a powerful documentary filmed in Mali, Zambia, Somalia and Liberia, during a two-day virtual event in November.

“An anniversary should be an occasion to celebrate, but sadly there appears to be no end in sight to Africa’s child hunger crisis,” said Dr Nyanyuki. “Twenty years on from our foundation, the need for African governments to take action on poverty and hunger is more acute than ever. I only hope we don’t have to wait another 20 years before they act.”

Notes for editors

The African Report on Child Wellbeing 2023 Justice not Charity: African Governments Must End Child Poverty will be launched, together with the report and documentary No End in Sight: Child Hunger in Africa, at two special three-hour events at 1500-1700 EAT (1200-1400 UTC) on 14 and 15 November respectively. The launches will bring together African heads of state, senior UN and AU representatives, leading African and global child rights experts, academics and civil society organisations. 

The events will be live-streamed and interactive and there will be an opportunity for journalists to ask questions during the second event. Details of how to register will be circulated soon. For further information or to arrange interviews with Dr Nyanyuki, please contact Martin Atkin, Senior Communications Consultant, ACPF at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

About ACPF

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) is an independent, not-for-profit Pan-African centre of policy research and advocacy on the African child. It was established in 2003 out of concern about the situation of the African child and the need for Africans to recognise their responsibility to collectively ensure the realisation of all rights for all children. More information here.

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An independent, not-for-profit, Pan-African
Institute of policy research and dialogue on the African child.

Founded 2003
Founder Assefa Bequele, PhD

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