7 June 2019

Africa: UN Finds 115 Million 'Child Grooms' With Central African Republic Topping List

London — Children married young tend to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, and are more vulnerable to abuse and mental health problems than those who marry later

About 115 million boys were married off as children with one in five wed before they turned 15, according to the first United Nations' study to track the prevalence of child grooms.

The U.N. children's agency UNICEF analysed marriage and population data across 82 countries and found the Central African Republic had the highest prevalence of child grooms at 28%, followed by Nicaragua at 19% and Madagascar with 13%.

UNICEF said children married young tended to leave school, have limited economic opportunities, and be more vulnerable to abuse and mental health problems than those who married later.

"Marriage steals childhood," the charity's Executive Director Henrietta Fore said in a statement as the report was released on Friday.

"Child grooms are forced to take on adult responsibilities for which they may not be ready. Early marriage brings early fatherhood, and with it added pressure to provide for a family, cutting short education and job opportunities."

UNICEF said these figures meant that there were now 765 million married boys and girls among the 2.2 billion children globally, but girls were still more likely to wed young which put them at risk of health issues related to teen pregnancies.

Globally about one in every five women aged 20 to 24 were married before their 18th birthday compared to one in 30 men, UNICEF said.

If all girls finished secondary school, more than 50 million child marriages could be prevented by 2030, children's charity Save the Children said in an October report.

The United Nations has said all countries should end child marriage by 2030 as agreed in the global development goals in 2015.

Almost all countries have a minimum marriage age of 18, but children can still legally wed in places like the United States if they have parental consent or through religious ceremonies, according to data research group World Policy Analysis Center.

(Reporting by Lin Taylor @linnytayls, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith.)

Central African Republic

Armed Groups Risk Peace Deal by Violating the Accord They Signed - Expert

An independent expert warns an agreement to restore peace and reconciliation in the Central African Republic is at risk… Read more »

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.