2 Fact Sheet
End Child Marriage in Africa
Percentage of women aged 20–24 years who were ﬁrst married or in union before ages 15 and 18, by region, 2005–2012.
01020304050Central AfricaSouthern AfricaWestern AfricaEastern AfricaNorthern AfricaWorld (except China)Married or in union by age 15Married or in union betweenages 15 and 18
In seven African countries, over half the total pop-ulation of young women was married before the age of 18: Niger (74.5 per cent), Chad (71.5 per cent), Mali (70.6 per cent), Guinea (63.1 per cent), Central African Republic (60.6 per cent), Mozam-bique (52 per cent), and Malawi (50.2 per cent).
Correlation between Poverty and Child Marriage
Countries with a high prevalence of child marriage tend to have a low gross domestic product (GDP). According to UNICEF, girls living in the poorest 20 per cent of households in Cote d’Ivoire are three times as likely to be married before the age of 18 as are girls in the richest 20 per cent of households. In Senegal, the poorest girls are four times as likely to be married before age 18 as the richest.
Poverty, gender-based violence and gender discrimination are key drivers of child marriage.
5 Ibid.6 Population Reference Bureau, op. cit.7
UNICEF (2005). Early Marriage: A Harmful raditional Practice. Paris.
Interplay between Child Marriage and Maternal Mortality
Te leading causes of maternal mortality and mor-bidity for girls under the age of 18 are pregnancy and childbirth.
Child brides are almost always mar-ried to older men and lack the standing or skills to negotiate over sex or birth control. Child brides are more likely to experience high rates of birth, high maternal and child mortality, obstetric ﬁstulae, premature births, still births, sexually transmitted diseases (including cervical cancer) and domestic violence. Te child of a mother aged 18 and under has a 60 per cent or greater chance of dying in its ﬁrst year.
Harmful Traditional Practices
Every social grouping in the world has speciﬁc cultural practices and beliefs, some of which are beneﬁcial to all members, while others are harmful to a speciﬁc subgroup, such as girls and women. raditional practices that harm girls and women
8 UNICEF (n.d.). Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse. New York. Available from http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_58008.html.