The impact of COVID-19 on the global economy and on the education sector is far reaching and still unfolding.
The Islamic Development Bank’s (IsDB) member countries, like other developing countries, were largely unprepared for the pandemic, and recovery from its impact will require large-scale funding from an already shrinking resource envelop.
It will also require strategic reforms to restructure and rebuild more resilient education systems to ensure continued learning under shocks and emergencies.
Partnering to leave on one behind
While governments shall bear the responsibility for continued learning and enhanced recovery, multilateral development banks have a critical role to play in providing financing that will leverage domestic resources and unlock private sector financing.
This requires building partnerships and forging synergies around the ‘leave no one behind’ rallying call envisioned by SDG 4.
The Islamic Development Bank is collaborating with the Arab Coordination Group (ACG), comprised of all the Arab Funds, to raise US$10 billion toward the COVID-19 response.
In the spirit of innovative blended financing, these resources could potentially be further leveraged to unlock the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Multiplier resources in several developing and emerging countries.
I therefore call for a tripartite engagement between the GPE Secretariat, the ACG Secretariat and the IsDB to explore these opportunities. It will require flexibility to ensure harmonization of procedures and business processes for expediency and efficiency.
Islamic financing is promising for education
Lessons from the 2007-2008 financial crisis have demonstrated the resilience of Islamic financial products and instruments against some of the features of conventional financing such as debt sustainability concerns.
However, global aid architecture and financing for education are yet to fully explore this largely untapped market.