Sub-Saharan Africa – Child labour in Africa is surging at all-time high. With thousands of children being forced into child labour every day, leading child rights activists called for a global social protection fund to stem the loss of a generation to COVID-19.
As the pandemic has pushed many countries, including the US and Rwanda to spend trillions of dollars on short-term measures, including payments to businesses and poor families, to cushion their populations from economic shocks, the people living below the poverty line have suffered the most.
Activists and social thought leaders have demanded the need to address child labour in Africa’s agriculture sector. It is evident from the latest reports that there are more children in child labour in Sub-Saharan Africa (86.6 million) than in the rest of the world combined. Shockingly it is noted that four out of every five children are engaged in child labour within the agriculture sector itself.
If we talk about the root cause and reasons behind this heinous data, it varies from poverty, limited access to quality education, inadequate labour-saving technologies, and traditional attitudes towards children’s participation in agriculture.
Abebe Haile-Gabriel, who is the FAO Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative for Africa mentioned that they need zero child labour in agriculture to achieve zero hunger, and need to act now.
He further added that factors such as climate change, inequality and poverty continue to pose challenges to rural livelihoods where child labour is often used as a negative coping mechanism. A greater request is made to all the leaders from various sectors and agricultural stakeholders across Africa to accelerate action.