African states dominate the Economist’s child-bride index, with the Sahelian states of Mali, Niger and Chad in the top three. They also have the lowest literacy rates among their female populations.
This is one of those problems associated with “culture” that most development experts shy away from. My take on this is that the cultural defenses of such practices is a lot of horse manure.
There is nothing African about marrying off a 12 year old girl.
Most child marriages have deep-rooted economic motivations. In most cases it boils down to the bride-price. Solving the problem will therefore require not just laws that throw “human rights” at young African girls, but a concerted effort that also includes development practitioners to provide alternative income to men who marry off their 12 year-olds in exchange for goats.