Girls’ Education and Child Marriage in West and Central Africa

Girls’ educational attainment and child marriage are closely linked. Ending child marriage would improve girls’ educational attainment, and conversely, improving girls’ educational attainment would help reduce child marriage. This is why enabling adolescent girls to remain in school at the secondary level is one of the best ways to end child marriage, and ending child marriage is similarly essential to enable girls to remain in secondary school.

To catalyze attention and investments in West and Central Africa towards promoting girls’ education and ending child marriage, this note is part of a series that documents trends in girls’ educational attainment and child marriage in the region, the factors that lead girls to marry or drop out of school early, and the associated impacts on a wide range of development outcomes. Selected economic costs resulting from girls marrying and dropping out of school early are also estimated. Finally, policies and programs that could help end child marriage and improve girls’ educational attainment are discussed.