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Child marriage is rife with two out of five girls married before the age of 18 and the region is also home to two of three countries in the world with the highest prevalence of female genital mutilation.
Across the region, education levels are poor and less than one third of girls are enrolled in secondary school. There is high unemployment and the dependency ratio - the number of under 15 and over 64-year-olds, dependent on the working age group - is disproportionately high at 87.3.
UNFPA works to end child marriage to ensure that all girls can realize their dreams, be safe, and live happy and healthy lives. Our aim is to let them be girls, not young brides or young mothers.