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UK summit raises $4bn for Global Partnership for Education

LONDON, July 31, 2021

The Global Education Summit, co-hosted by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in London, has raised a record $4 billion from donors for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE).   
 
In the Middle East, the UAE pledged $100 million, Kuwait pledged $30 million, and Saudi Arabia pledged $3 million. Dubai Cares has also pledged $2.5 million.
 
The growing pledges from the Middle East come despite difficult global economic conditions due to the Covid 19 reality. 
 
In addition, the IsDB (the Islamic Development Bank) raised its initial co-financing pledge from $200 million to up to $250 million in concessional loans, together with significant commitment from members of the Arab coordination group.
 
UK too pledged funds worth £430 million ($600 million), the largest ever pledge from the country to GPE.   
 
This fundraising total puts GPE firmly on the path to achieving its target of raising at least $5 billion over the next five years to transform education for millions of the world’s most vulnerable children, said senior officials. 
 
A fully funded GPE would enable up to 175 million children to learn and help get 88 million more girls and boys in school by 2025, they added. 
 
The two-day hybrid event brought together leaders from governments, businesses, private foundations and development banks to commit funding and support to children’s education in the world’s lowest-income countries.  
 
Donor pledges secured at the summit build on the commitment to girls’ education announced last month at the G7, where leaders pledged at least $2.7 billion to GPE and called on other donors to step up and fully fund GPE’s ambitious new five-year plan. 
 
"The funds raised at the summit will transform the lives of millions of children around the world. The UK was proud to contribute £430 million to the GPE and it is fantastic to see others step up and contribute to the goal of ensuring a quality education for every child," said Johnson.
 
"Education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet to solve a myriad of problems, from gender inequality to climate change, and is one of the surest ways for our countries’ economies to rebound. Ensuring that all children – and especially girls – can get the education they deserve is the smartest investment we can make to ensure we build back better from the pandemic," he noted. 
 
In addition to the $4 billion pledged from donors, 19 heads of state and government committed to spending at least 20 per cent of national budgets on education, rallying behind a political declaration on education financing led by Kenyatta. 
 
"I call on my fellow heads of state to endorse the domestic financing statement and to commit at least 20 per cent of your domestic budgets to education," stated the Kenyan President. 
 
"This will ensure that we keep our promises to our children to secure their future through quality and inclusive education," he added.
 
Over the next five years, the countries endorsing this statement are committing up to $196 billion in education financing. These commitments are a crucial shield against learning losses resulting from the economic impact of Covid-19. 
 
"The summit has helped put education at the top of the international agenda and highlighted its role in accelerating the fight to end poverty, prevent climate change and improve health outcomes," remarked Julia Gillard,  GPE Board Chair and former Prime Minister of Australia. 
 
"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," she stated.
 
The summit saw an unprecedented number of pledges from businesses, private foundations and development banks, who along with a range of partners have mobilized more than $1 billion towards innovative financing instruments that provide catalytic capital to partner countries alongside investments from GPE.  
 
The business community and private foundations collectively announced over $100 million at the summit, said senior officials. 
 
Business partners launched two major new public-private partnerships, to use social marketing expertise to drive up girls’ enrolment in school and to strengthen data systems to drive evidence-based improvements in education systems. These in-kind commitments are valued at more than $6 million, they added.-TradeArabia News Service 



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