A statistical profile of Birth Registration in Africa

Parents hold their baby as they meet with the birth registrar
UNICEF 2018/Pagetti


Society first acknowledges a child’s existence and identity through birth registration. The right to be recognized as a person before the law is a critical step in ensuring lifelong protection and can facilitate access to all other rights.

A birth certificate is proof of that legal identity, and is the basis upon which children can establish a nationality, avoid the risk of statelessness, and seek protection from violence and exploitation. For example, proof of age is needed to help prevent child labour, child marriage and underage recruitment into the armed forces. A birth certificate may also be required to access services, in areas including health, education and justice.

In accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals, UNICEF seeks to fulfil the promise of universal birth registration, ensuring a legal identity for every child by 2030.

Young woman holds baby and birth certificate