Global Partnership for Education set for future growth and approves more than US$100 million for children’s education in developing countries
Students reading in their textbooks in Burkina Faso. Credit: GPE

Welcomes increased financial contribution from European Commission

Paris, December 7, 2018. Less than two months before the Global Partnership for Education’s (GPE) Financing Conference, the GPE Board of Directors agreed on key reforms to further strengthen GPE for future growth, and approved more than US$100 million for education in developing countries.

The meeting opened with an announcement from the European Commission to increase its financial contribution to the GPE Fund totaling 287.5 million euros [approx. US$350 million] for the 2018-2020 period.

The Financing Conference will be held on February 1-2, 2018, in Dakar, Senegal and will be co-hosted by Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal and Emmanuel Macron of France, two countries stepping up and calling for more education financing through GPE to support 870 million children with quality education.

The European Commission’s increased contribution in the weeks before the GPE Financing Conference sets the pace for other donors to step up and fully fund GPE to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4).

The last two years have seen a growing momentum for global education. Now is the time for all partners, donors and developing countries alike, to work together and demonstrate commitment and financing to ensure that the world’s children get an education and the right skills for the 21st century,” said Julia Gillard, Board Chair, Global Partnership for Education. “Investment in education can be a catalyst to accelerate progress across priorities from economic development to peace and security.”

GPE support to countries between 2002 and 2015 has contributed to impressive achievements, including 72 million more children in primary school and 74 percent primary school completion rates for girls compared to 57 percent before.

The upcoming conference will mark a turning point in global education financing and is the first critical step toward ensuring sufficient resources to achieve SDG 4. To deliver on this ambitious agenda, GPE aims to become a USD$2 billion a year operation by 2020, as recommended by the Education Commission.

To reach this goal, GPE is seeking US$3.1 billion in donor contributions for 2018 to 2020. Developing country partners are asked to raise their domestic education spending to 20 percent of their overall budgets.

Recent reports, including the World Bank’s World Development Report, UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring report and the G7 Taomina Progress Report, all emphasized the centrality of education to sustainable development.

GPE is responding to the global education crisis with a sharpened business model to deliver results at scale,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education. " We are delivering effective assistance to the countries with the greatest needs by improving learning, increasing equity, and strengthening education systems.”

The Board approved two new grants for Burkina Faso and Zanzibar, totaling US$39.6 million.

  • The US$33.8 million grant for Burkina Faso will support a pooled donor fund to ensure alignment with local systems and reduce transaction costs. The funding will support school construction, teacher training, learning materials, school management and data systems. 30 percent of the grant is contingent to specific results, including increasing the primary school enrollment rate in the most difficult to reach communities in the country’s Sahel region.
  • In Zanzibar, the US$5.8 million grant includes a focus on crucial early childhood development and will ensure that more children get two years of pre-primary education. It will also help schools and teachers meet inclusive education standards and improve education monitoring.

Ensuring that GPE is well prepared for the challenges ahead, the Board also approved:

  • US$67.5 million for the GPE Multiplier, an innovative finance mechanism that will crowd in an additional US$295 million across seven countries: Ghana, Kyrgyz Republic, Nepal, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Zanzibar, and Zimbabwe.
  • a new knowledge and innovation exchange mechanism, which will enable new insights and the sharing of best practice on improving education.
  • an advocacy and social accountability funding mechanism, which will further GPE 2020 goals by strengthening civil society’s capacity to campaign for quality education for all.
  • a private foundations strategy in response to increased interest in collaborating with non-traditional donor partners.
  • Strengthened grant procedures to incentivize increased domestic investments in education and to respond to emergencies with accelerated funding support. 


The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) works with developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, prioritizing the poorest, the most vulnerable and those living in countries affected by fragility or conflict. GPE mobilizes financing for education and supports developing countries to build effective education systems founded on evidence-based planning and policies.

GPE’s approach is different because it convenes and builds consensus on education issues--at the global and country levels--to help developing countries develop effective education sector plans, and promote aid that is coordinated and aligned with these plans.

GPE’s support has achieved the following results in its partner countries:

  • 72 million more children in primary school in 2015 compared with 2002
  • 76% of children in GPE partner countries completed primary school in 2015 compared to 63%in 2002.
  • 74% primary school completion rate for girls in 2015 compared with 57% in 2002
  • 78% of GPE partner countries have maintained their education budget at or above 20% of public expenditure, or increased their education budget in 2015.
Students reading in their textbooks in Burkina Faso. Credit: GPE

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