Global progress on reducing teenage pregnancy has been significant since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action was adopted 25 years ago in Cairo. But that progress has been uneven – and in some countries the situation has worsened.

One of them is Malawi, where the rate of pregnancy among teenage girls increased from increased from 25 per cent to 29 precedent from 2010 to 2016, according to data from the National Statistical Office. Claire Jensen and Victory Kamthunzi from the African Institute for Development Policy argue that investing in education is the best way to reverse this trend. 

"Being out of school increases the risk of teenage pregnancy, while pregnancy also elevates the risk of dropping out of school," Ms. Jensen and Ms. Kamthunzi write in a joint blog to mark World Population Day.

But just more education is not enough. To really make progress on curbing teenage pregnancy in Malawi, the authors note, development interventions must also target the larger context of the cultural, economic and social barriers that prevent many girls from going to school.

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