The African Union (AU) has commended President Edgar Lungu for championing the campaign to end child marriages on the continent.
This is according to a statement issued by Zambia’s First Secretary for Press in Ethiopia Inutu Mwanza.
Speaking at the open session of the Peace and Security Council, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Al-Fadil said President Lungu has shown commitment by ensuring that the ban of child marriages remained on the front banner of any developmental discourse across the continent and beyond.
She said it was important to raise more awareness on the dangers of child marriages.
“It is my hope that we will come up with concrete solutions that protect the psychosocial and overall well-being of children in Africa,” Elfadil said.
And chairing the Peace and Security Council meeting, Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia Susan Sikaneta said President Lungu was committed to the fight against early marriages in Africa.
She said since being appointed continental champion in the fight against early marriages President Lungu has shown resolve and determination to end the vice.
And Ambassador Sikaneta said it was high time the Peace and Security Council considered the urgent need to end child marriages in Africa because of the many negative multiplier effects child marriage has on society.
“Alarming statistics reveal that more than 452 women on the continent die each day in pregnancy related cases and this is particularly the young women who are not ready for such,” Ambassador Sikaneta said.
She called for initiatives that fully address child marriage such as proposing a qualifying age for marriage to make it illegal for a girl below that age to get into marriage.
“Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today have married as children and of these 17% or 125 million live in Africa. Approximately, 39%of girls in sub-Saharan Africa are married before the age of 18,” Ambassador Sikaneta said.
“This comes with serious consequences on young women’s health including contracting Aids and having multiple complications as they are not ready for bearing children and for intimate relationship.”
Several Member states of the Peace and Security Council commended the AU for the strides it was making in fighting early child marriage.
They called for legal frameworks that would discourage early marriages in African Countries.
Africa holds the second highest rate of child marriages globally, with South Asia as first.