Three African heads of state have warned their peers that without accountability and political intervention, the problem of child marriage is set to worsen, posing a severe developmental threat to much of the world.
“It’s a challenge we all face,” said Arthur Peter Mutharika, president of Malawi, which in February closed a loophole from its constitution that permitted teenage girls to marry with parental consent.
Today, one in four young women will be married during their childhood, defined as being before the age of 18. This often sharply reduces their chances of higher education and economic independence, while increasing the risk of various health risks, including maternal mortality. In Africa, one in 10 will marry before their 15th birthday.