Ethiopia: Niger to host first African Girls’ Summit on abolition of child marriage in Africa

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA)   – A senior official of the African Union Commission (AUC) has welcomed the announcement by Niger that it plans to host the First African Girls’ Summit on Ending Child Marriage in Africa in Niamey from 26 – 27 November 2015.

"This bold step by the Republic of Niger evidences the commitment of African governments in going beyond endorsing decisions, but ensuring that the decisions are implemented nationally with emphasis on impacting on the lives of people at the community level," the AUC Commissioner for Social Affairs, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, said Wednesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"The African Girls’ Summit is timely as it coincides with the African Union’s theme for 2015 - Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063," Kaloko added, recalling that, at the 2014 London Girls Summit, participants committed to continue fighting against child marriage and other harmful traditional practices affecting girls and women in Africa.

According to the AU official, the African version of the Girls’ Summit on ending child marriage in Africa "will serve as a major step in calling problems for what they are and by every means engendering the change that needs to happen”.

Projections for Africa show that if nothing is done in the next decade to stop child marriages, 14.2 million girls under 18 years would be married off every year, translating into 39,000 girls married each day.

If this trend continues, the number of girls under 15 giving birth is expected to rise from two million to three million by 2030, in Africa. These figures represent a looming catastrophe for a fast developing continent.

Niger, having one of the highest rates of child marriages in Africa, took the bold step of being the second African country, after Ethiopia, to launch its own campaign at the national level after the continental launch of the AU Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.

"We applaud the government of Niger and other member states of the African Union for their giant strides in ending child marriage in their respective countries," said Kaloko.

The African Girls’ Summit will bring together high level personalities from member states, including Heads of State and First Ladies, high level UN dignitaries, women and girls, civil society organizations as well as community and religious leaders and other stakeholders.
-0- PANA AR 18Mar2015

18 march 2015 16:42:34

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