In his opening address, Chairman of the Parliamentary caucus on Population and Development at the seminar, Hon. Alban Bagbin noted that the seminar was to add to Global voices the problem of early marriage in West Africa.
According to Hon. Bagbin, the situation is widespread across all ten regions of the country.
“Child marriage occurs in practically every region in the world. The rates remain very high in some regions such as South Asia (46%), Sub-Saharan Africa (37%) and Latin America and the Carribean (29%). East Asia and Pacific follow (18%), with the Middle East and North Africa (17%). Our sub region – West Africa has one of the highest prevalence rates of early marriage with Niger, Mali and Chad leading as major hotspot areas”
UNFPA statistics show that in 2010, 277,000 women in Ghana aged between 20-24 were married or in union before age 18. The figure is set to rise by 47% in 2030 if the trend continues.
Hon. Bagbin called on Members of Parliament to be at the forefront of the combating early and forced marriages and education constituents about the need to desist from the practice.
Meanwhile Ghana has been commended by the Canadian High Commission for its strides in riding the nation off incidents of forced and early marriages has been challenged to enforce existing laws so as to effectively tackle the problem.