Financial commitments made at the just-ended Global Education Summit in London came to $4 billion, with officials at the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) expressing confidence in attaining their target of $5 billion to cover the next five-year funding cycle.
The GPE expects full funding to get up to 175 million children to learn and help send 88 million more girls and boys to school in 87 low- and middle-income countries, of which 35 are in Africa, by 2025.
In addition to the $4 billion that donors pledged, 19 heads of state and government made a commitment to spend at least 20 per cent of national budgets on education, the global benchmark.
These countries pledged to commit $196 billion of public expenditure on education over the next five years.
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, who co-hosted the conference with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said of the 20 per cent allocation of domestic budget to education: “This will ensure that we keep our promises to our children to secure their future through quality and inclusive education.”
The Summit, which ended on Thursday, saw an unprecedented number of pledges from businesses, private foundations and development banks, who along with a range of partners raised more than $1 billion.
The Chair of the GPE Board and former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard, said the Summit helped put education at the top of the international agenda
She added that it also highlighted education’s role “in accelerating the fight to end poverty, prevent climate change and improve health outcomes”.
“The Summit is an important success for millions of children and young people around the world whose education has been upended by the pandemic, and a critical step to ensuring that education is at the heart of our response and recovery,” Ms Gillard said.
A number of African presidents, including Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo, Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi were present at the two-day event, which was also held virtually.
Mr Johnson took the opportunity to discuss bilateral issues, focusing on trade, security and health, with the African leaders who were in London.
In the case of Ghana, he praised the government on its record in supporting girls’ education, while President Akufo-Addo and Prime Minister Johnson also discussed opportunities for expanding trade and investment between both countries.
Mr Johnson and President Buhari touched on the ongoing instability in parts of Nigeria and also discussed clean technology and sustainable infrastructure.
The British Prime Minister “encouraged Nigeria to commit to no new coal power” in the run-up to the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) on climate change, taking place in Glasgow in November.