KANO, Nigeria — The boy stepped into the grubby street, looking both ways for traffic. He was wearing the clothes he wore yesterday and seemingly all the days before: a pair of too-big cotton pants and a black shirt so tattered that it seemed ready to fall off his body. His bony shoulders peeked through the holes where the sleeves once were stitched.At an intersection, the 10-year-old beggar weaved between idling cars, his feet clapping the asphalt in mismatched flip-flops, one yellow, one red. He held out a plastic bowl and tried to lock eyes with the people behind the smudged car windows, hoping for a flash of sympathy, a rolled-down window, an outstretched arm proffering a crumpled bill.Until a year ago, Ghaddafi Auwalu lived with his family on their small plot outside this fast-growing city in northern Nigeria. His parents sent him away, Ghaddafi said, for reasons that might be difficult for faraway people to understand: They had too many children, and they couldn't afford to look after him. » read more
A baby is born every second in Africa, where the world's highest fertility rates are threatening to drive a desperate continent even deeper into poverty. A McClatchy special report shows how Africa's population boom is pushing children and families to the brink, and how the U.S. government contributed to the crisis.
See a slide show of photos from Nigeria, Uganda and Mozambique.