The Capetown Principles and Best Practices, adopted by the NGO Working Group on the Convention on the Rights of the Child and UNICEF at a symposium on the prevention of recruitment of children into the armed forces and on demobilization and social regeneration of child soldiers in Africa in April 1997, proposed that African Governments should adopt and ratify the Optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict raising the minimum age from 15 to 18, and that African Governments should ratify and implement other pertinent treaties and incorporate them into national law. The symposium define a child soldier as any person under age 18 who is "part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or group in any capacity, including but not limited to cooks, porters, messengers and those accompanying such groups, other than purely as family members. The definition includes girls recruited for sexual purposes and for forced marriage. It does not, therefore, only refer to a child who is carrying or has carried arms."
As of 2007, Africa has the largest number of child soldiers. In 2004 one estimate put the number of children involved in armed conflict including combat roles at 100 000.
Burundi – Hundreds of child soldiers serve in the Forces Nationales pour la Libération (FNL), an armed rebel Hutu group. 16-year olds are also conscripted by the Burundese military.
Central African Republic – Hundreds of children serve in armed rebel groups, including the Union of
Democratic Forces for Unity (Union des Forces Démocratiques pour le Rassemblement, UFDR).
Chad – Child soldiers are fighting with the Chadian Military, integrated rebel forces - the United Front for Democratic Change (Front Uni pour le Changement, FUC), local self-defense forces known as Tora Boro militias, and two Sudanese rebel movements operating in Chad - the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the G-19 faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA).
Cote d'Ivoire – Children serve in armed militia groups linked to the government, including the Alliance patriotique de l'ethnie Wé (APWé) and the Union patriotique de résistance du Grand Ouest (UPRGO). The ex-rebel groups now allied into the New Forces (Forces Nouvelles de Côte d'Ivoire, FAFN) also had child soldiers.
Democratic Republic of Congo – Thousands of children serve in the military, as well as the various rebel militias. At the height of the Second Congo War, the UN estimated that more than 30 000 children were fighting with various parties to the conflict.
Rwanda – Child soldiers have been used by Rwandan government forces and paramilitaries, as well as government-backed forces operating within the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some child recruitment is still reported in refugee camps.
Somalia – Nearly all factional militias in Somalia use child soldiers, with an estimated 200 000 children involved over a 16 year period. In late 2006, Islamic Courts Union used large numbers of child soldiers to fight against Ethiopian and Somalian forces, reportedly resulting in the death of "countless" teenage fighters.
A child soldier of the Sudanese People's Liberation Army (2007).Sudan – Thousands of children fight with the Sudan People's Armed Forces, the Sudan People's Liberation Army and their Joint Integrated Units. In Darfur, the Sudanese army, the Janjaweed militias, Sudan Liberation Army factions and paramilitary forces reportedly use at least 7 000 child soldiers in the region. The Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan-based group, also has child soldiers in Sudan.
Uganda – Over the past twenty years, the rebel Lord's Resistance Army has abducted more than 30 000 boys and girls as soldiers. Girls are often forced to be sex slaves. The government has recruited small numbers of children into its forces as young as 13, including Local Defense Units.
Zimbabwe - The ZANU-PF government of Robert Mugabe sponsors a "youth militia" -- the National Youth Service, known as the "Green Bombers". The children are armed, provided with narcotics, and used for acts of urban violence against political dissidents. They are believed responsible for some of the worst acts of political violence in recent history.