Globally, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children and 17 percent of them live in Africa. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), if we don’t act now, the number of girls married as children will double by 2050 and Africa will become the region with the highest number of child brides in the world.
Approximately 39 percent of girls in sub-Saharan Africa are married before the age of 18. All African countries are faced with the challenge of child marriage, whether they experience high child marriage prevalence, such as Niger (76 percent) or lower rates like Algeria (3 percent). Child marriage is widespread in West and Central Africa (42 percent) as well as Eastern and Southern Africa (36 percent).
It has also been reported that some of reasons why many parents marry their daughters off can be attributed to poverty and the belief that the girls are safer that way. Tradition and the stigma of drifting away from tradition propagate child marriage in many communities. Significantly, gender inequality and the low importance placed on girls motivate the practice.
It is against this backdrop that the World Bank released a report about the economic importance of ending child marriage. The World Bank stipulated that if child marriage is not brought to its knees, it will cost developing countries trillions of dollars in the next decade, and seriously hamper global efforts to eradicate poverty. Read more