A report by the World Bank and the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) has said that child marriage would cost developing countries trillions of dollars by 2030.
The new report took into consideration the economic impacts of child marriage through fertility, education, employment and health. Unfortunately, Nigeria, among other countries, allows child marriage and mostly driven by poverty with consequences on girls’ health.
According to the report titled “Economic Impacts of Child Marriage”, in the past 30 years, the prevalence of child marriage (marriage or union before the age of 18) has decreased in many countries, but it still remains far too high.
In a set of 25 countries for which detailed analysis was conducted, at least one in three women marry before the age of 18, and one in five women have their first child before the age of 18.
“Child brides are often robbed of their rights to safety and security, to health and education, and to make their own life choices and decisions. “Child marriage not only puts a stop to girls’ hopes and dreams. It also hampers efforts to end poverty and achieve economic growth and equity.
“Ending this practice is not only the morally right thing to do, but also the economically smart thing to do,” the World Bank’s Project Director and co-author of the report, Quentin Wodon, said.
In the countries considered in the report, three in four early childbirths (children born to a mother younger than 18) are attributed to child marriage. The report also estimated that a girl marrying at 13 would have on average 26 per cent more children over her lifetime than if she had married at 18 or later.
This means that ending child marriage would reduce total fertility rates by 11 per cent on average in those countries, leading to substantial reductions in population growth over time.