Child marriage a scourge, women’s inclusion must be prioritized - Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina, President AfDB

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Whilst in Niamey for Afrtican Summit, Adesina also participated in a high-level panel on combatting child marriage, organized on the sidelines of the summit by the First Ladies of West African Economic Community states and Niger’s first lady Dr. Lala Malika Mahamadou Issoufou.



The panel, themed: Combatting child marriage and promoting girls’ education and retention in schools, heard testimonies from young girls as well as from Niger’s traditional chiefs, who committed to support the recommendations of the meeting.



“It is totally unacceptable that in Africa some people would block the future of girls. Fundamentally, we have to protect girls, help them achieve and perform.” Adesina said.



Highlighting the need to urgently address “this plague which jeopardizes the future of girls in Africa,” Adesina urged participants to prioritise the inclusion of women. “Women are the backbone of the African economy and of the African communities,” Adesina stated.



President Issoufou also reaffirmed his government’s commitment to supporting the First ladies.



“Keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to end child marriage. Like men, an educated girl will contribute to her community’s transformation,” the President said.



Rounding off the conversation Niger’s First Lady described the issue as a “critical priority.”



“It is not just a West Africa issue, but an issue for the entire region. So all of us must come together – public, non-governmental institutions, religions leaders, communities, families, and schools – for a sustained multi-stakeholder approach to combat early marriage and promote girls’ education,” Malika Mahamadou Issoufou concluded.
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