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Tackling the Persistent Challenge of Child Marriage in Africa

Child marriage in Africa

Welcome to my series on the challenges facing African women. In this visual, I look into the pervasive issue of child marriage. Join me as I delve into the complexities of these challanges and strive for a better future for African women.

Context  Setting the stage and providing background information

The visual  Description and analysis of the visual representation

Observations Notable findings and insights derived from the visual

Omissions  Elements or data points not included in the visual

The data  Sources and details regarding the data used in the visual

Reflections Personal thoughts and considerations on the subject matter


Child marriage remains a pressing issue across Africa, robbing millions of girls of their childhood and fundamental rights. "For girls, being married as a child almost always means not attending school, early motherhood, and devastating impacts for socioemotional well-being. It affects their mental and physical health, and increases their vulnerability to violence and abuse." (UNICEF)

The Visual

The visual representation illustrates the stark reality of child marriage in Africa, particularly focusing on West and Central Africa. Displayed by a small-sized wedding ring, it showcases the prevalence of child marriage in various countries and highlights the staggering numbers of girls affected.


Nearly 60 million girls in West and Central Africa were married or in a union before the age of 18. One notable finding from the visual is the concentration of child marriages in certain countries, with Nigeria and the DRC emerging as the most affected nations.


While the visual provides valuable insights into the prevalence of child marriage, it does not delve into the cultural and societal factors that perpetuate this practice. Additionally, it does not capture the experiences of individual girls affected by child marriage. It also only captures women and girls from the West and Central Africa region.

The Data

The data used in this visual is sourced from UNICEF global databases as of June 2022, providing a comprehensive overview of child marriage in West and Central Africa at the time. It includes statistics on the number of girls married before the age of 18, broken down by country. You can check out the full report here, with profiles on each country.


As I reflect on the data presented in this visual, I am struck by the magnitude of the challenges facing young girls in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. Why are the social, cultural, and economic factors that require children to be married so prevalent in this country?

Please be sure to check out my other visuals in this series:


Welcome to VisionAfrique!

I'm Dara Gbolahan, the creative force behind VisionAfrique.

While I don't claim to be an Africa expert, I'm a graphic designer and data visualization specialist who loves bringing complex topics to life visually. With this blog, I'm on a mission to infuse some life and personality into our discussions about Africa's challenges and triumphs.



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