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Africa: South Sudan, Chad Ranked the Worst Nations to Be a Girl in Africa

Coronavirus pandemic set to reverse fragile gains on gender equality in Africa

South Sudan, Chad and Eritrea are the worst African countries to be a girl, a first-of-its-kind index found on Friday, with researchers warning that the pandemic could set back efforts to keep girls in school, out of work and safe from violence.

The African Child Policy Forum (ACPF) ranked 52 African nations based on the rights and wellbeing of girls. The research institute judged governments on several factors including healthcare, education, and laws and policies that protect girls.

Mauritius, Tunisia, South Africa, Seychelles and Algeria topped the inaugural ‘Girl-Friendliness Index’, yet a report by the ACPF said the rankings were determined more by political commitment and accountability than by economic wealth.

The ACPF said African governments had broadly made some progress on girls’ rights but that most countries were failing, citing issues ranging from malnutrition to early marriage.

The United Nations says 23% of girls on the continent are not in primary school against 19% of boys. Nearly four in 10 girls marry before turning 18, according to the World Bank.

“Girls across the continent continue to wake up to the daily reality of injustice,” Joan Nyanyuki, executive director of the ACPF, said in a statement. “An entire generation of girls and young women is being failed.”

By 2050, Africa will be home to about half a billion girls under the age of 18, according to the ACPF, which said a failure to invest in young women would result in huge economic losses.