Members of Parliament in Mozambique have passed a bill criminalising the marriage of people under the age of 18 and proposing penalties for offenders and enablers of the practice.
An adult who marries a minor will be jailed for up to 12 years in prison, the bill says.
If President Felipe Nyusi assents, the bill it will become law.
Zelia Menete, from the Coalition for the Elimination of Premature Marriages, a local rights group, urged the government to also focus on ensuring that girls remain in school.
“Parents, guardians, leaders, religious organisations and other stakeholders should have knowledge of the law and also work with the education ministry to ensure that there’s more and more retention of the girls in schools.
“Only this way, will the girls have skills and after the age of 18 she can clearly give a more active contribution to the country’s development.”