Has Child Marriage Declined in sub-Saharan Africa?
An Analysis of Trends in 31 Countries
A. Koski, S. Clark, A. Nandi | Population and Development Review, Vol 43, Issue 1 | 2017
"High levels of child marriage persist throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa despite legislative efforts to prevent the practice. By 2010, 25 of the 31 countries in our analysis had set a minimum legal age for marriage at 18 years or older (United Nations 2011b). Guinea, Niger, Togo, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe were exceptions and had legal minimums between 15 and 17 years of age. All 31 countries permit exceptions to the minimum in the case of consent from parents or religious or judicial authorities (United Nations 2011a, 2011b; WORLD Policy Analysis Center 2016). Although these laws represent an important precedent for the protection of human rights, our estimates suggest that they are insufficient to eliminate the practice. Given the numerous exceptions to the minimum age, even rigorous enforcement of existing laws is unlikely to eliminate child marriage.
A recently published systematic review found that providing incentives for girls’ education was one of the few interventions that have been shown to effectively prevent child marriage (Kalamar, Lee-Rife, and Hindin 2016)." (...)