This bold step by the Republic of Niger evidences the commitment of African Governments in going beyond endorsing decisions but ensuring that the decisions are implemented nationally with emphasis on it impacting on the lives of people at the community level.
Expressing delight and welcoming the decision by the Government of the Republic of Niger to host this important summit, His Excellency, Dr. Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs said, the “African Girls’ Summit is timely as it coincides with the African Union’s theme for 2015 - Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063. At the 2014 London Girls Summit, we committed to continue fighting against child marriage and other harmful traditional practices affecting girls and women in Africa, as well as advocating in a coordinated and concerted manner, strongly against negative practices that impinge on or contravene the rights and welfare of the child, in particular the girl-child.
The African version of the Girls’ Summit on ending child marriage in Africa will serve as a major step in calling problems for what they are and by every means engendering the change that needs to happen”. Projections for Africa shows that if nothing is done in the next decade to stop child marriages from occurring, 14.2 million girls under 18 years will be married every year, translating into 39,000 girls married each day. If this trend continues, the number of girls under 15 giving birth is expected to rise from 2 million to 3 million by 2030, in Africa. These figures represent a looming catastrophe for a fast developing continent.
The Republic of Niger has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Africa and it continues to show that talk is truly cheap and in walking the talk, shortly after the continental launch of the AU Campaign to End Child marriage in Africa, Niger took the bold step of being the second African country, after Ethiopia to launch the campaign at the national level. We applaud the government of Niger and other Member States of the African Union for their giant strides in ending child marriage in their respective countries, said Commissioner Kaloko.
The African Girls’ Summit is scheduled for 26 - 27 November, 2015 in Niamey, Niger and will bring together high level personalities from Member States- Heads of State and First Ladies, high level UN dignitaries, women and girls, civil society organisations including community and religious leaders and other stakeholders.
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