African Nations Must Make Girls’ Education ‘Immediate Priority’ To Prevent Child Marriage, Improve Social, Health Outcomes

The Lancet: The cost of not educating girls in Africa
Editorial Board

“In sub-Saharan Africa, one in three girls is married before her 18th birthday, according to Educating girls and ending child marriage: a priority for Africa, published by the World Bank on Nov 19. The evidence against marriage before age 18 is extensive and forceful. Child brides have worse physical, psychological, and reproductive health outcomes than do their peers who marry later. … For future wellbeing, the most valuable alternative to marriage for young girls is secondary education. … The World Bank estimated that the cost of incomplete education related to child marriage for 12 African countries that make up half the continent’s population was US$63 billion in lost capital wealth. By comparison, the official development assistance for the entire continent was $41 billion in 2016. Whereas 75 percent of girls worldwide complete lower secondary education, only 40 percent do so in Africa. … Clearly, the African Union’s aspirations for 2063 of prosperity, inclusion, and development of women’s potential, can only be realized if the education of girls is made an immediate priority” (12/1).