Percentage of young women (20-24 years) married before age 18

West African girls are married off too young: Seven West African countries rank among the top 20 countries in the world with the highest rate of child marriage: Niger (1), Chad (3), Mali (5), Guinea (6), Burkina Faso (8), Sierra Leone (13) and Nigeria (14). In Niger, three out of four girls marry before their 18th birthday, contributing to the highest fertility rate in the world of more than seven children per woman. Nigeria and Niger are among the top 20 countries with the highest absolute number of child marriages, with 1.193 million and 244 000 married girls, respectively. Child marriage reinforces gender inequality and violates human rights by depriving young girls of the opportunity to fulfil their potential. The region is collectively losing a huge, undeveloped human capital. In 2014, the African Union launched a campaign to accelerate change across the continent. Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Mali and Niger have launched national campaigns to end child marriage.

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