Child labour in Africa

The latest ILO global estimates on child labour indicate that Africa has the largest number of child labor; 59 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 are involved with hazardous work. More than one in 5 children in Africa are employed against their will in stone quarries, farms, and mines. Poverty remains the major reason behind this issue.

Globally, the number of child labourers has declined by one third since 2000, from 246 million to 168 million. But Sub-Saharan Africa continues to be the region with the highest incidence of child labour with more than one in five children in child labour.

The percentage of children in hazardous work is highest in the Sub-Saharan Africa region (10 per cent). The number of child labourers also decreased in Sub-Saharan Africa (by 6 million). The net impact of these regional trends is that the population of child labourers is becoming more concentrated in the Sub-Saharan Africa region. According to the regional distribution of child labour for the 5-17 years age for 2008-2012, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 30 per cent of all 5-17 year-olds in child labour. Read more...

Child Labour Country Dashboard

  1. The Child Labour Country Dashboard provide information from various sources to present a broad picture of the national child labour situation of a country and the main actions being taken to combat it. The legislation, policies and strategies covered by the Country Dashboard are listed below. All of them can contribute towards the elimination of child labour.

    By clicking on the country name at the right menu you will access to the country-specific information.

  1. Country legislation on child labour

    ILO Convention No. 138 on the minimum age, adopted in 1973, and ILO Convention No. 182 on the worst forms on child labour, adopted in 1999.

    The ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) is mandated to provide an impartial and technical evaluation of the state of application of the ratified Conventions. The CEACR makes two kinds of comments: observations and direct requests. Observations contain comments on fundamental questions raised by the application of a particular convention by a state. Direct requests relate to more technical questions or requests for further information.

    The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted in 1989, contains a range of international rights for children. Article 32 of the Convention addresses child labour. CRC has two Optional Protocols, adopted in 2000, one concerns the involvement of children in armed conflict, and the second concerns the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.

    The Committee on the Rights of the Child is mandated to monitor and report on the implementation of the CRC and its Optional Protocols. The Committee then provides concluding observations.

    The national legislation on child labour provided here comes from the ILO Natlex database.

  2. Country policies on child labour

    The UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) is a programme framework between a government and the UN Country Team (UNCT) that describes the collective response of the UN system to the achievement of national development priorities and results. Usually the UNDAF is developed on the basis of a National Development Plan (NDP).

    The ILO Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) is the ILO contribution to the UN country assistance. It describes the ILO support at the country level towards the goal of decent work for all women and men, including the support to develop and implement National Action Plans (NAPs) to combat child labour.

    The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) outlines a country programme for poverty reduction to allow it to obtain funding from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for support. The policy and programmes prescriptions in PRSPs can have a direct and/or indirect impact on the child labour situation in the country.

    The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) is a multi-stakeholder partnership that seek to ensure accelerated progress in developing countries towards achieving the SDG 4 which call for inclusive, equitable quality education for all by 2030.