Uganda ‘could generate $30bn extra per year by ending child marriage’

11 Dec 17

Ending child marriage could generate $30bn per year for Uganda by 2030, a report by the World Bank has suggested. 

The continuation of child marriage would also lead to fewer girls attaining education, higher population growth, an increase in health risks, lower earnings for women and higher poverty rates, the said.

Christina Malmberg Calvo, World Bank country manager in Uganda, said: “The cost of child marriages does not fall solely to the girls and their babies but constitute an enormous lost opportunity for Ugandan society and the Ugandan economy.

“Educating girls and ending child marriages must be a top priority for any aspiring middle income country. Inaction is really not an option.”

The biggest economic benefit would be from a reduction in population growth, which could reach $2.4bn by 2030.

As a result of ending child marriage, more girls would go to school and those who have married as girls could today be earning an estimated $500m more a year, the World Bank said.

According to the report, one in three girls still marry before the age of 18 and almost three in ten girls have their first child before the age of 18.

The country’s growth has slowed, reaching 4.5% per annum over the last five years compared to a rate of 7.0% or more in the 1990s and 2000s.

The government has continued to stimulate growth through increased public spending on infrastructure, the bank said, but the projected growth outcome of about 5-6% in the next three years would not be sufficient to increase the country’s per capita income to middle income status.

The IMF told Uganda to find an alternative way of raising revenue as its overall fiscal deficit had widened.

The World Bank also urged the country to look to the private sector to fill the finance gap, as it has a shortfall of nearly $1.4bn in financing per year, equivalent to 6.5% of its gross domestic product. 

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