A call has been made for African nations to prioritise the elimination of child marriages as they have overwhelming effects on both the girl child and economic development.

A widespread violation of human rights, child marriage is a global challenge and an impediment to social and economic development.

Predominantly in the west and Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty, culture, religion, and lack of education are some of the key drivers fuelling the menace.

Girls make up the majority of children who are married below the age of 18 and they feel early marriage deprives them of their fundamental rights to health, education and safety.

“Each one of us has a role to play towards accelerating efforts to help change the lives of girls and young women all over the world,” Shamwari Yemwanasikana Director, Mrs Ekenia Chifamba.

“A strong legal and policy system is an important step towards recognising and upholding girls’ rights,” Goromonzi West legislator, Cde Beatrice Nyamupinga said.

Child marriages will cost developing countries trillions of dollars by 2030, according to the World Bank and the International Centre for Research on Women 2017 report, and if there is no reduction in child marriages, the global number of children married will reach 1.2 billion by 2050.