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Early marriages costing billions—World Bank

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By Jameson Chauluka:

World Bank (WB) has warned African countries, including Malawi, that they risk losing over 60 billion dollars in earnings due to rising cases of school dropout and early marriage.

WB has made the revelations a its report launched ahead of the African Union Commission’s second African Girls Summit on Ending Child Marriage set to take place in Ghana.

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The report, titled ‘Educating Girls and Ending Child Marriage: A Priority for Africa’ shows that, every year, more than 3 million girls in sub-Saharan Africa marry before turning 18.

The report faults the development, saying women who are exposed to secondary education are more likely to work and earn more than those who do not.

“On average, women who have [access to] secondary education are more likely to work and they earn twice as much as those with no education. Estimates for 12 countries—which account for half of the African continent’s population—suggest that, through its impact on girls’ education, child marriage is costing these countries $63 billion in lost earnings and human capital wealth,” reads the report in part.

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The report has been published after research in 12 African countries including Malawi.

It says, while many African countries have achieved gender parity in primary education, girls lag behind boys in attainment of secondary and tertiary education.

WB says early child marriages lead to high fertility rates and population growth.

But Minister of Gender, Cecilia Chazama, said she was yet to see the report.

Universal access to quality education is one of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

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