The GPE Multiplier is an innovative finance mechanism launched in 2018. It encourages governments and co-financers in low- and middle-income countries to bring in more and better investments in education.
The GPE Multiplier is an innovative financing tool that allows GPE to bring more and faster financing to the education sector. An independent evaluation of the Multiplier focused on 27 partner countries that had received grants between 2018 and 2022.
Since its inception, the GPE Multiplier has allocated $480 million to 40 partner countries and unlocked over $2 billion in additional co-financing from partners.
At the request of the GPE Board in 2021, an independent evaluation of the Multiplier was conducted by Mathematica and Results for Development to inform the approach for the Multiplier under the GPE 2025 operating model.
The evaluation examined the Multiplier’s financial additionality, value additionality and grant processes. It focused on the most recent 27 partner countries that had received Multiplier grants by July 2022.
In GPE’s context, financial additionality is defined as unlocking new and additional or faster co-financing. “New and additional” means that external funding is unlikely to have been mobilized or mobilized as quickly for education if the Multiplier funding were not available.
The evaluation defined value additionality as aligning country and GPE priorities, harmonizing co-financing, improving the sector dialogue, and prioritizing inclusivity and gender equality.
Among these 27 partner countries, stakeholders from 10 countries were invited for interviews: Bhutan, Djibouti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Kenya, Malawi, Mongolia, Nigeria (Kaduna State), Rwanda, and Senegal. Stakeholders included government officials from partner countries, co-financers, coordinating agencies, grant agents, other members of the local education group, and the GPE Secretariat. Here are the evaluation’s main findings.
Does the Multiplier bring more and faster funds for education?
The Multiplier is successful in a financial sense since it unlocked $300 million and brought $1.5 billion in co-financing to the 27 countries. Because of a lack of a counterfactual, it is difficult to determine whether the full $1.5 billion can be attributed to the Multiplier.
Nearly half of the co-financing would likely have been mobilized anyway without the Multiplier - but the Multiplier had an influence on the volume of co-financing that was eventually unlocked.
The World Bank is the most frequent co-financer and grant agent of the Multiplier. In the 27 sample countries, the World Bank is the grant agent for 19 Multiplier grants, including all 16 grants for which it is the lead co-financer. In total, the World Bank provided 70% of all Multiplier co-financing.
Partner countries see the Multiplier as highly relevant. Co-financers and partner countries value its ability to catalyze funding, fill financial gaps and extend the reach of program activities.
The average actual ratio of co-financing to the Multiplier across the 27 sampled countries is 4.7 to 1, which is significantly greater than both the minimum Multiplier matching ratio of 3 to 1 for most donors and the 1 to 1 matching ratio for foundations and the private sector.
What non-financial benefits does the Multiplier bring to countries?
The GPE Multiplier grants and co-financing were found to be aligned with education sector plans or partnership compacts. Multiplier processes also led to expanded engagement and dialogue in local education groups. Increased dialogue through the Multiplier particularly brought attention to gender equality and equity.
“This is the first time we are working so closely with other donor partners. This program will just strengthen our bond to work together. It is a very good opportunity for us to understand other donors’ activities.”
“Even non co-financers like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and UNICEF got together to hash out the project outputs and activities. The Multiplier exercise really catalyzed much better discussion and coordination, which probably wouldn’t have happened to that extent [without the Multiplier].”
How efficient are the Multiplier processes?
While efficient and agile processes allow grants to run smoothly, reducing the risk of delays and cost overruns, the process to obtain a Multiplier grant was found to be onerous in the initial phases, particularly the requirement to demonstrate financial additionality.
This GPE condition requires countries to demonstrate additionality by providing evidence or rationale why the additional funding would not have been mobilized or mobilized as quickly for education without the incentive of the GPE Multiplier.
It is possible the process may present a continued challenge in light of the GPE 2025 requirements of an enabling factors analysis and a review by the Independent Technical Advisory Panel.
Under the GPE 2025 model, Multiplier countries are required to conduct an enabling factors analysis to understand the conditions that must be in place to enable, or at least increase the likelihood of successful implementation of key system reform.
The enabling factors analysis is intended to inform the design of the Multiplier program. The process includes a country’s self-assessment of four enabling factors, followed by a review by the Independent Technical Advisory Panel.
However, it is too early to be sure as the operating model was at the early stage of implementation when the evaluation was conducted, and modifications to GPE operating model processes are currently underway.
The way forward
The evaluation recommends diversifying the pool of Multiplier co-financers to include more types and sources of financing, as well as potentially more funding. To do so, it suggests providing more and better incentives to attract new co-financers.
This includes revisiting the criteria for financial additionality to make it easier for new co-financiers to demonstrate additionality and adjusting the co-financing ratio according to country context.
The evaluation recommends improving the grant agent selection process. The purpose is to diversify the pool of grant agents for Multiplier grants and, especially when a Multiplier grant can be combined with another GPE grant, reduce the risk of fragmentation across GPE grants.
The evaluators also propose lightening the grant process for countries with small Multiplier allocation amounts and aligning these considerations with the ongoing Secretariat efforts to adapt the operating model based on learnings from pilot countries.
Such suggestions included streamlining the enabling factors analysis and the process for the Independent Technical Advisory Panel review. Other process-related recommendations included clarifying the requirements and the level of effort necessary to develop partnership compacts to encourage more access to the system transformation grant, and tracking co-financing flows.
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