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Although it may seem ironic that a policy affecting so few children should engage so much political and social attention, the symbolic significance of inter-country adoption far outweighs its practical import. This fact is partly demonstrated by the polarised views on inter-country adoption, and opinions continue to be divided over the necessity and propriety of the practice.
African children are – sparked by celebrity adoptions (the adoptions of Angelina Jolie and Madonna) – attracting an increasing attention from prospective adoptive parents living in other parts of the world. While the number of inter-country adoptions from African countries is still quite modest compared to adoptions from the top four countries of origin, there are concrete reasons to believe that interest in adoption from African countries will continue to increase. It is however highly questionable whether the African continent is equipped to provide its children with the necessary safeguards in this respect.
The central thesis of this study is to explore how the best interests of the African child can be upheld in inter-country adoption. This central research question is broken down into a number of related research questions, such as: