Early Child marriages will cost Africa a total of $63 Billion in lost earnings and human capital wealth, this is according to a World Bank report dubbed Educating Girls and Ending Child Marriage: A Priority for Africa.
According to the report, approximately one third of Africa’s population get married before turning 18 years old and end up dropping out of school.
Most of these child brides end up having children at a young age, which affects their health as well as the education and health of their children.
The report noted that on average, women who have a secondary education are more likely to work and they earn twice as much as those with no education.
In sub-Saharan Africa, seven out of 10 girls complete primary education, but only four out of 10 complete lower secondary school.
“Primary education for girls is simply not sufficient. Girls reap the biggest benefits of education when they are able to complete secondary school, but we know that girls very often don’t stay in school if they marry early,” Quentin Wodon, Lead Economist at the World Bank and principal author of the report added.
The report further indicated that early child marriages leads to high fertility rates and population growth which ultimately lowers the living standards, especially for the poor individuals in the region.
Another impact of child marriages on development outcomes highlighted in the report is that it leads to higher risk of intimate partner violence, and lower decision-making in the household.
“Child marriage also affects the well-being of the children of young mothers, including higher risks of mortality and malnutrition for children below the age of five,” it stated.