(Reuters) – The number of child brides in Africa will soar to 310 million by 2050 from 125 million now if current trends persist, due to slow rates of reduction combined with rapid population growth, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
This would see Africa surpass South Asia as the region with the most women aged 20 to 24 who were married as children.
Here are some facts about child marriage in Africa and worldwide.
* Every year 15 million girls around the world marry before the age of 18, about 41,000 a day or 28 every minute.
* Worldwide, more than 700 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday.
* Almost one in five of them – 125 million – live in Africa.
* If current trends continue, almost half the world’s child brides in 2050 will be African.
* Nigeria has the largest number of child brides in Africa, with 23 million girls and women who were married in childhood.
* Six in 10 married adolescent girls in Mauritania have husbands who are at least 10 years older than they are.
* In South Sudan, girls from the wealthiest households are nearly as likely to be married by age 18 as girls from the poorest households.
* One in three married adolescent girls in Guinea-Bissau are in a polygamous union, compared with one in four in Burkina Faso and one in five in Benin and Cameroon.
* The majority of people marrying before 18 are girls, but a large number of boys also marry as children. Boys are more likely to be married in childhood in the Central African Republic than in any other country in Africa.