Ending child marriage in West & Central Africa could take 100 years- UNICEF

| Updated Oct 24, 2017 at 6:59am


14 year old Sidibe Rokiatou, from Côte d’Ivoire, dreams of becoming a pharmacist. Her dream is possible now because she's in school, but a year ago, she was close to ending up in a forced marriage. © UNICEF/UN061441/Dejongh


Unless action is taken to stamp out child marriage in West and Central Africa, it will take more than 100 years to end the practice in these regions.

That's according to projections by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) which were released on Monday.

"While the prevalence of child marriage in West and Central Africa has declined over the past two decades, progress has been uneven, and still four in 10 women are married before the age of 18 and, of these, one in three before the age of 15. West and Central Africa includes six of the 10 countries with the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world: those are Niger; Central African Republic; Chad; Mali; Burkina Faso and Guinea." UN Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq.

UNICEF said one of the best strategies to delay girls from marrying young is to get them to go to school "and keeping them there for as long as possible."