Early Marriage in Africa – Trends, Harmful Effects and Interventions


  This article explores the pattern of early marriage in Africa. It focuses on the sub-Saharan region as an area with the highest rates of early marriage in the world. The harmful effects of early marriage are explored in terms of impact on the health, education and economic well-being of young girls. The paper outlines a framework for analyzing global, regional and local initiatives to curb early marriage and examines the application of these interventions in sub- Saharan countries. Regional patterns are then examined and countries which have made progress in reducing age of marriage are compared to countries in which age of marriage amongst girls has reminded low. The paper concludes on the note that countries with the highest rates of early marriage are also the countries with the highest rates of poverty and highest population growth rates. The paper argues for a sub-regional strategy to address the problem of early marriage in the zone with the highest incidence.


Judith-Ann Walker



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