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GPE: The cost of failure to invest in quality education: ONE calls world leaders to step up in Dakar

Dakar, 31st of January 2017 –  ONE is calling on world leaders to announce ambitious pledges for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) replenishment, and finally address the education emergency that leaves over 130 million girls out of school.

The GPE replenishment, taking place in Dakar, Senegal (February 2), is a major opportunity to step up for the next generation, especially in Africa, and to reverse 10 years of shrinking investments in access to quality education in the poorest countries.

Since 2002, the share of global education financing has dropped from 13 percent to 10 percent despite  global official development assistance increasing. The cost of this lack of investment has been severe. New analysis from ONE shows how the lack of a decent education results in 2,800 avoidable deaths in developing countries each day. The dividends of investing in education, however, are huge – particularly if the focus is on girls. Developing countries are missing out on at least $308 million every day by not educating girls to the same level as boys.

 Gayle Smith, President and CEO of ONE, said:

“ The price of failure to deliver in Dakar would be very expensive. The cost for millions of children around the world, for the global economy, for global stability and for women’s empowerment, would be too high.

“World leaders should consider that if they do the right thing, we will all gain from it. Investment in education brings dividends in health and prosperity, as well as security.”

African leaders are acting by working towards the target of allocating at least 20% of domestic budgets to education, and by making necessary changes to education policies. With its population set to double by 2050 – half of which will be under the age of 25 – Africa needs investments in the education of children and youth to harness a demographic dividend.

Smith continued: “Coming from the African Union Summit, I am pleased to see the leadership from the continent that is taking investment in its children and youth seriously, and meeting their responsibilities to their young citizens.  It’s now time for donors to support this ambition and do their share.

“African leaders are acutely aware of the opportunities to be gained by addressing the challenges ahead. Dakar should be a turning point for access to quality education, not a missed opportunity. “


Notes to editors:

  1. New research from ONE shows how the lack of a decent education results in 2,800 avoidable deaths in the poorest countries each day. Researchers found that an estimated 35 million lives could be saved with universal secondary education from 2018 to 2050. This is due to the multiple diffuse effects of improving education level, especially on poverty reduction and health. For example, education has effects on productivity, which means more economic activity and fewer people in poverty. Education also helps women get better access to information about their health, especially during their pregnancy, and for their newborns and children.
  2. GPE is seeking to raise $3.1 billion from donors for the next replenishment cycle (2018-2020).

If GPE is fully financed (US$3.1 billion), by 2020, GPE will help get

    1. 26 million additional children through school (19 million primary, 6.6 lower secondary)
    2. Over 1.7 million teachers trained.
    3. Over 23,000 classrooms built.
    4. Over 200 million textbooks distributed.

The goal for developing countries is to increase their domestic expenditure to 20% of their overall budget.

  1. Education’s share of total ODA has dropped from 13% to 10% since 2002 as other sectors’ shares rose. Source : Poverty is Sexist Report 2017
  2. ONE’s report, The Toughest Places for a Girl to Get an Education, reveals the ten toughest countries and highlights some of the many unique barriers girls face. ONE’s analysis shows that nine of the 10 toughest countries are in Africa, and all are fragile states.


For information and interviews from the Conference in Dakar:

  • For any request, please contact in Dakar : Annabel Hervieu (senior media manager) [email protected] / +33631228968 / +221 7 812 33  318
  • Spokesperson available :
    • Gayle Smith : ONE CEO (English)
    • Rudo Kwaramba-Kayombo : ONE Africa Director (English)
    • Friederike Röder : ONE France Director (French, English, German)
    • Oulie Keita : ONE Francophone Africa representative (French, English)