Investing in Early Childhood Development in African Countries

Advanced knowledge about the importance of early childhood development (ECD) has heightened the interest in appropriate models of quality ECD, especially in low-income communities. ECD provides a strong foundation for entering school with the social, emotional, and pre-academic skills needed for learning. This brief explores some of the policy options, models and their implications for countries investing in quality early childhood education.

The scope of the challenge is daunting but one that needs to be urgently tackled. Over a third of all children are found in Africa, and yet they are the most vulnerable as just under half of all children who die before reaching the age of five are found on the continent. Most die from easily preventable infectious diseases; which in part are related to the low educational attainment of mothers, among other poverty related factors. Further, Africa lags behind most other developing regions in achieving the MDG target on underweight children. Although Africa has seen a significant reduction in the past decade, some 32 per cent of the world’s malnourished children come from this region.

Co-produced by ADEA and the Inter Country Quality Node on Early Childhood Development hosted by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources, Tertiary Education and Scientific Research, Mauritius. For further information, please contact Maya Soonarane on