President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has called for an urgent need to tackle early child marriage by promoting girls’ education in Africa.
Dr Adesina who was guest at the First Ladies Meeting on Combatting Child Marriage and Promoting Education of Girls in West Africa, Niamey, Niger, added that Africa will develop faster when it achieves equality for women.
“Our challenges are complex – and they require a holistic approach in response. Keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to end child marriage; because an educated girl is an empowered girl.
“Early marriage is a plague jeopardizing the future of girls, as women are fully capable of contributing to the development of their communities and countries.
“It is my conviction that “No bird can fly with one wing. Africa will develop faster when it achieves equality for women.”
He explained that the bank has set up policies that will ensure women’s participation and to achieve the goals need the political will.
“We know what must be done! We have the tools and program delivery models. What we need, however, is a strong political will.
“This is a critical priority for us – not just an Africa issue, but also a global issue. So all of us must come together – public non-governmental institutions, religious leaders, communities, families, and schools – for a sustained multi-stakeholder approach to combat early marriage and promote girls’ education.
“You invest in a man, it’s one thing – but invest in a woman, and you see that investment manifold throughout her community.”