Pupils write on their notebook as they attend class at a primary school in Pikine SEYLLOU/AFP/Getty Images

How to Pay for Africa’s Education Gains

Unless Africa's governments embrace innovative financing solutions, millions of young Africans will suffer the effects of a paradox in international development: Countries will be too prosperous to qualify for the best funding options, but too poor to meet the educational needs of their citizens on their own.

JOHANNESBURG – Africa is in the midst of an education crisis. Despite pledges to improve access to education for all children by 2030, many African governments are failing to fund this ambitious component of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is still time to address the financing shortfall, but only if new investment strategies are embraced with vigor.

Today, roughly half of the world’s young people, including some 400 million girls, are not being educated to succeed in the workplace of the future. This challenge is most acute in Africa; although 75% of girls in Sub-Saharan Africa start school, only 8% complete secondary education. Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where women still do not enroll in or graduate from tertiary education at the same rates as men.

These problems are well known, if not always addressed. Less understood is the contradictory impact that Africa’s future growth will have on the availability of education funding.

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