This UNICEF brochure summarizes the current situation of Civil Registration in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Key facts:

  • The births of around 95 million children under age 5 (slightly more than half) in sub-Saharan Africa have never been recorded. One in three unregistered children live in just three countries: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • Possession of a birth certificate is even less common – 120 million of the region’s children under age 5 do not have a birth certificate.
  • Around 370 million children (roughly 3 in 4) live in sub-Saharan African countries where there are fees associated with birth registration, and in most cases, these reflect fines for late registration.
  • There are 41 countries in sub-Saharan Africa that have set the minimum legal age for marriage at 18 or above for both sexes. But, for 48 million girls living in 7 countries, marriage below age 18 is permitted. In an additional 22 countries, home to 61 million girls, marriage before age 18 is allowed with parental consent or under certain special conditions. For 57 million boys living in 19 countries, marriage below the age of 18 is permitted under certain conditions.
  • Across sub-Saharan Africa, 110 million girls and women alive today were married before their 18th birthday. While there are fewer child grooms in the region, nearly 15 million men were married in childhood

About this resource

Type of Resource: 
Advocacy Materials
Country Assessments and Strategies
Year of Publication: