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Child marriage in West and Central Africa is one of the biggest challenges in the region and has enormous adverse effects on education, health, including sexual and reproductive health, and on the overall development of adolescents and youth. This brochure provides recent data and analysis of child marriage in the region.
This position paper presents several strong arguments about why it is imperative to address child marriage and adolescent pregnancy, if we want to succeed in harnessing the demographic dividend in West and Central Africa. It also provides recommendations on the key actions different stakeholder groups can take to make this a reality.
Girls are subject to child marriage, female genital mutilation and limited education and as such, are denied equality of opportunities. At the beginning of 2016, the African Union Heads of State and Government underlined a commitment to put young people and women first by agreeing to focus on “Harnessing the demographic dividend through investments in youth” throughout 2017 and beyond. UNFPA in West and Central Africa recognizes the critical importance of investing in adolescents and youth, particularly adolescent girls. …
Adolescent health and development are key foundations for a country's economic development and political stability. The outcomes of adolescent health are closely linked with future adult development, infant and child mortality, maternal morbidity and mortality, and even long-term economic development.