By Kayode Tokede, Lagos
The World Bank has said that child marriage will cost developing countries like Nigeria trillions of Dollars by 2030.
The World Bank and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in a report said an end to child abuse would have positive effect on the educational attainment of children.
The report said, “Ending child marriage would have a large positive effect on the educational attainment of girls and their children, contribute to women having fewer children and later in life, increase women’s expected earnings and household welfare.”
According to the Economic Impacts of Child Marriage report, 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,” said Quentin Wodon, the World Bank’s Project Director and co-author of the report.
“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,” Wodon added.
The report said across the countries considered, three in four early childbirths (children born to a mother younger than 18) are attributed to child marriage.
The report estimated that a girl marrying at 13 will 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 percent on average in those countries, leading to substantial reductions in population growth over time. In Niger, the country with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world, the population by 2030 could be five per cent smaller if child marriage and early childbirths were eliminated,” the report added.