Addis Ababa, January 27, 2018 - Investing in education is a foundation for economic prosperity, improved stability, peace, security and health outcomes. It is one of the most cost effective ways to drive economic development, improve skills and opportunities for young women and men, and unlock progress on the Agenda 2063 aspirations and all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Despite the value of investing in education, Africa is facing an alarming challenge in the quality and funding of education on the continent.
This topic is at the center of a high-level dialogue of African Heads of State titled “Financing Africa’s Future: Unlocking Potentials through Education”. The event is held at the 30th African Union (AU) Summit, organized by the Department for Human Resources Science and Technology of the AU Commission, together with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the ONE Campaign, and under the auspices of Ethiopia and Malawi. The event will feature the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, AUC Chairperson, UNICEF, Plan International, CEO’s and GPE and ONE Campaign, as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Malawi. A number of other Heads of State are also expected to attend the event.
It builds on the political momentum from a high-level event held in New York at the 72nd UN General Assembly, jointly hosted by Malawi, Senegal, France, Norway and GPE, entitled “Financing the Future: Education 2030”.
The high-level lunchtime event will bring the conversation to Africa and provide an opportunity to ensure a strong African perspective on how to enhance education financing, particularly domestic financing and countries spending at least 20 percent of total government expenditure on education.
The event takes place ahead of the GPE Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal, on February 1-2, co-hosted by Senegal’s President Sall and France’s President Macron.
There are, 55 million children out-of-school in Africa and 9 million girls between the ages of 6 and 11 may never go to school at all. Girls suffer most: out of 130 million girls who are not in school across the world, 55 million are in Africa.
Rapid population growth means that improving education outcomes will continue to be an uphill struggle, especially in sub- Saharan Africa.
About 46 percent of the increase in Africa’s labor force between 2015 and 2063 will be young people aged 15-34.
If all children and young people are to access their right to an inclusive, quality, equitable education from pre-primary through to tertiary to harness their employment opportunities, African leaders must take action now. The alternatives are unemployment, poverty, inequality, instability - all of which will stunt economic growth, with social security and political ramifications.
Education is fundamental to achieving every facet of Agenda 2063 and the SDGs, and it will boost the continent’s march towards economic progress and social development.
Delivering high-quality education to children and young people in Africa calls for the mobilization of considerable resources. It also calls for efficient management of existing resources. Public education systems across many African countries are under considerable financial pressure, particularly considering the large and growing proportion of youth of school age.
To reach the objectives of the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) and Sustainable Development Goal for quality education (SDG 4) global spending on education must rise annually from $1.2 trillion per year to $3 trillion by 2030, according to the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunities. This includes domestic spending.
This call is to make efforts for financing quality education in Africa. As a 21st century model for development financing, GPE is doing its part to ensure that African countries accomplish their collective educational and developmental goals. And the GPE Financing Conference, will test the political commitment leaders have to quality education and learning as we seek to translate it into tangible action and increased investment.