GPE has made substantial investments in education, by helping an additional 72 million children go to primary school since 2002.
Snap question: What is the Global Partnership for Education (PME)? Very few people would get an above-average mark for this kind of tricky question. Yet the aim of this multilateral fund is as simple as a basic mathematical addition: it involves helping partner countries provide quality education to the 870 million children around the world who need it.
In early February 2018, international leaders, driven by the Presidents of Senegal and France, will have the duty to replenish the resources of the GPE Partnership for the next three years. It will be up to the 65 developing countries, 22 donors, NGOs, companies, foundations and international organizations who are partners of GPE to work together to develop access to quality education for all boys and girls.
Since it was set up in 2002, the Global Partnership for Education, the only multilateral organization entirely devoted to education, has been mobilizing all these actors, as well as teachers’ organizations, to support inclusive, sustainable and quality education. It does so by supporting national public policies and building the capacities of partner countries. GPE has also adopted the vision of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) dedicated to education, and thereby fits in with an AFD fully committed to achieving the SDGs defined by the international community.
AFD on the front bench of the classroom
Our agency is a longstanding partner of GPE and cofinances programs with the Partnership, for example, in Benin, Guinea and Niger. AFD even directly manages GPE’s funds in Burkina Faso and Burundi, as well as part of the funds allocated to Senegal.
AFD and GPE also share much in common on a number of strategic issues, such as the education of girls, teacher training, and learning how to read in national languages. This is without forgetting broader subjects, such as financing education, aid effectiveness or support for public education policies.
Finally, AFD and the Global Partnership for Education share values. Just as our agency, GPE focuses on a rationale for collaboration, support for public policies and aid harmonization, while fully respecting national contexts and institutions. Just as AFD, the Partnership considers education as a core issue for social links, which requires the participation of all stakeholders for inclusion and the reduction of economic, territorial and social inequalities – especially gender inequalities. There must be widespread mobilization in all these fields.
A pressing need
Education is the only sector in which there has been a decline in Official Development Assistance (ODA): it now only accounts for 7% of ODA, following a 30% reduction in five years. Only a quarter is allocated to Sub-Saharan Africa, whereas its high population growth puts pressure on national school systems: by 2050, a third of young people in the world will be African.
Yet research has shown that education has a whole host of beneficial effects, well beyond school: on health, citizen participation, stability, poverty reduction and economic development. There is consequently an extremely urgent need to mobilize the international community to support education in these countries. It is also an obligation for us to give GPE the means for action.