Talk Africa: Foreign Adoption of African Children

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Kenya has announced the immediate ban on child adoption by foreign nationals. The decision announced by Kenya’s government, follows a cabinet meeting chaired by President Uhuru Kenyatta, and has brought the subject of intercountry adoption back on the international stage.

Kenya’s ban follows an earlier one by Ethiopia last year and is part of a growing global trend towards either complete elimination or sharp restriction of trans-boundary child adoption. 

Foreign child adoption in Africa is an emotive subject, with concerns raised over child-trafficking and abuse, cultural displacement, and unregulated adoption processes.

But with many children still in need of safe and secure environments to grow up in, domestic options alone face an uphill task in catering to the needs of children in need of family care. So what will be the fate of foreign child adoption in Africa?
There was a time when foreign adoptions from Africa were rare. In 2003 for example inter-country adoptions from Africa are reported to have accounted for only 5% of the world total. However, this figure rose to 25% by 2012, representing a staggering increase of almost 400%; making Africa the then new frontier for the adoption of children by foreign nationals.
This steep rise was triggered by prevailing issues such as conflict, famine the HIV/AIDS pandemic and poverty. In this era, Hollywood had also come calling, with several high profile adoptions by celebrities shinning a spot light on adoption from Africa.

However, times have since changed. 

Experts relate improved economic conditions, changing national policies and growing peace to the reduction in Africa’s foreign adoptions-in line with the global rate which has since dropped by an estimated 72% in the past decade. 

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