The Former President, John Mahama, has said child marriage was a backward and unacceptable practice in the 21st century.
“The practice of taking young girls out of school midstream and marrying them off mostly to men far older than them must stop…One of the most backward and unacceptable practice is child marriage. This must be a cause that we take up with passion.”
The former president, made the remark when he gave the keynote address at the Women in Agriculture Summit in Morocco yesterday.
President Mahama, further urged parents to desist from such practice and allow girls to spend more time in school.
“Girls must not only be made to go to school, but must also stay in school for as far as their capacity for academic pursuit can take them,” he added.
Touching on agriculture, Mr. Mahama, called for the empowerment of women, saying it is not a privilege “it is a right.”
He noted that, Africa possesses about 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable land, amounting to “about 60% of the world total.”
He said the available arable land means that “Africa has the potential to, not only feed itself, but feed the rest of the world” if better efforts are put into it.
The former president said in order to achieve this, “not only women, but also the youth must be attracted to invest and participate in agricultural production.”
A recent research shows that child marriage increased by 42percent in Northern Ghana. This situation, analysts have said is above the national average of 24 percent.
The Summit is being organized by Believe in Africa, in collaboration with OCP Group, United Nations Women, Africa 24 TV, Forbes Afrique and All Africa Magazines.
Joyce Bawah Mogtari ,Special Aide in a statement issued on Monday, said President Mahama was the Special Guest of Honour for the Summit, which is bringing together 350 participants from across the African continent and North America.
‘Empowering Women in Agriculture: Generating Sustainable Growth, Bridging the Gender Gap’ is the theme for the Summit.
According to the Organisers, Mr. Mahama, has demonstrated his commitment to transforming the African continent and is one of the leaders promoting ‘Agenda 2063’- the African Union’s vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa- by addressing gender and economic inequality in the agricultural sector.
The Marrakech Summit is also in line with the African Development Bank’s “Feed Africa Initiative” being championed by the former President.