Ten current and three former heads of state and more than 60 ministers gathered at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Financing Conference, making this the highest-level education financing event of its kind.
The conference, co-hosted by President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal and President Emmanuel Macron of the French Republic, marks the first time an education financing conference has been hosted by a G7 leader and the president of a developing country.
More than 1200 participants attended including leaders from UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank, civil society, philanthropic foundations and the private sector. Rihanna, GPE’s Global Ambassador supported by Global Citizen, also participated.
The size and nature of the attendance at the conference was a visible demonstration of the strengthened global political will to ensure every child is in school and learning. This heightened momentum will enable the Global Partnership for Education to reach the goal of providing US$2 billion a year by 2020 for education planning and delivery to support children’s learning in developing countries.
Donor countries pledged US$2.3 billion in financing to GPE. This is a substantial increase in funding compared to the US$1.3 billion contributed over the past three years. In addition, several donor countries have indicated their intention to pledge further funds over the course of the financing period.
The biggest source of education financing comes from developing countries themselves. More than 50 developing countries announced they would increase public expenditures for education for the period 2018 to 2020 to a total of US$110 billion, compared to US$80 billion between 2015 and 2017.
GPE encourages developing countries to increase their share of education spending to 20% of their overall budget. Of those governments committing today, over two-thirds will have reached that goal by 2020.
“I am energized by the generosity and determination we have seen here today to ensure every child and young person has access to a quality education. After today’s commitments, we are seeing a clear trend to seriously address the global learning crisis” said Julia Gillard, Board Chair of the Global Partnership for Education and former Prime Minister of Australia. “The success of the conference marks a turning point for global political support for education financing and brings a new breadth and depth to our partnership.”
At the conference, the United Arab Emirates joined GPE, becoming the first Arab donor and pledging US$100 million. Senegal, in addition to pledging to increase its own expenditure on education, became GPE’s first African donor. The Netherlands and Spain renewed their involvement, and China attended for the first time.
“The unprecedented support today means that the Global Partnership for Education can continue to focus on the most excluded and vulnerable children and work to extend assistance to up to 89 countries, which are home to 870 million children and 78 percent of the world’s out-of-school children,” said Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education.
The Global Partnership for Education’s funding model is a catalyst for education investment, working hand in hand with governments of low-income and lower middle-income countries to strengthen their education systems. The Global Partnership for Education supports governments to develop robust national education plans so that funds can then be channeled into their priority areas with confidence that they will contribute to improved quality of education for all children.
The conference was sponsored by: Ecobank, the Pan African Bank; Fondation Sonatel; and Altissia, and supported by Girls Not Brides; Global Campaign for Education; Global Citizen; Malala Fund; ONE; Plan International; RESULTS; and Women Deliver.