By Kieran Guilbert
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The number of child brides in Africa will soar to 310 million by 2050 from 125 million now if current trends persist, due to slow rates of reduction combined with rapid population growth, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
This would see Africa surpass South Asia as the region with the most women aged 20 to 24 who were married as children.
Here are some facts about child marriage in Africa and worldwide. * Every year 15 million girls around the world marry beforethe age of 18, about 41,000 a day or 28 every minute. * Worldwide, more than 700 million women and girls alivetoday were married before their 18th birthday. * Almost one in five of them - 125 million - live in Africa. * If current trends continue, almost half the world's childbrides in 2050 will be African. * Nigeria has the largest number of child brides in Africa,with 23 million girls and women who were married in childhood. * Six in 10 married adolescent girls in Mauritania havehusbands who are at least 10 years older than they are. * In South Sudan, girls from the wealthiest households arenearly as likely to be married by age 18 as girls from thepoorest households. * One in three married adolescent girls in Guinea-Bissau arein a polygamous union, compared with one in four in Burkina Fasoand one in five in Benin and Cameroon. * The majority of people marrying before 18 are girls, but alarge number of boys also marry as children. Boys are morelikely to be married in childhood in the Central AfricanRepublic than in any other country in Africa.
(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit www.trust.org)