A report released by the World Bank and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) warned that the worsening case of child marriage in developing countries could cost trillion worth of dollars by 2030, putting the global economy at a risky state.
World statistics state that at least one in three women marries before the age of 18, and one in five women have their first child before the age of 18. Among the countries surveyed, African and South Asian countries topped the list with 77 percent of women aged 18 to 22 in Niger alone are married at a young age.
“Every day more than 41,000 girls marry before the age of 18. Poverty, gender inequality, poor access to quality education and to youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services, and a lack of decent employment opportunities, help perpetuate child marriage and early childbirths,” Suzanne Petroni, ICRW’s Project Director and co-author of the report said.
Despite the escalating issue of child marriage, efforts and campaigns to fight the problem remain limited as revealed by the Economic Impacts of Child Marriage report. According to World Bank and ICRW, eliminating child marriage would slow down population growth, reduce government budgets and promote household welfare. An estimated $4 trillion could also be added to the global economy if the drive towards bringing child marriage to an end will pursue.
Several organizations voiced out their stand against ending child marriage and save millions of lives from the threat of poverty. United Nations, for example, has adopted a sustainable development goal plan in 2015 which included strategies to end child marriage.
“Child marriage not only puts a stop to girls’ hopes and dreams. It also hampers efforts to end poverty and achieve economic growth and equity,” said Quentin Wodon, World Bank’s project director. “Ending this practice is not only the morally right thing to do but also the economically smart thing to do.”