Child Poverty and Social Protection in Central and Western Africa
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In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Livingstone declaration, and the UN Social Protection Floor, this book deals jointly with multi-dimensional child poverty and social protection in Western and Central Africa. It focuses both on extent and types of social protection coverage and assesses various child poverty trends in the region. More importantly, it looks at social protection to prevent and address the consequences of child poverty. Child poverty is distinct, conceptually, and different, quantitatively, from adult poverty. It requires its own independent measurement—otherwise half of the population in developing countries may be unaccounted for when assessing poverty reduction. This book posits that child poverty should be measured based on constitutive rights of poverty, using a multi-dimensional approach. The argument is supported by chapters actually applying and expanding this approach. In addition, the case is made that the underlying drivers of child poverty are inequality, lack of access to basic social services, and the presence of families without any type of social protection. As a result, the case for social protection in contributing to reduce and eliminate child protection and its consequences is made. Poverty reduction has been high on the international agenda since the start of the millennium. First as part of the MDGs and now included in the SDGs. However, in spite of a decline in the incidence of child poverty, the number of poor children is harder to reduce due to population dynamics. As a result, concomitant problems such as the increasing number of child brides, unregulated/dangerous migration, unabated child trafficking, etc. remain intractable. Understanding the root causes of child poverty and its characteristics in Western and Central Africa is fundamental to designing innovative ways to address it. It is also important to map the interventions, describe the practices, appreciate the challenges, recognize the limitations, and highlight the contributions of social protection and its role in dealing with child poverty. No practical policy recommendations can be devised without this knowledge.