Home » Africa: education theme of the year, but objectives still far away

Africa: education theme of the year, but objectives still far away

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by: Gianfranco Belgrano | February 27, 2024

Spending on education by African governments as a percentage of GDP has remained stable below 4%, according to the UNESCO Financial Education Report 2023, published in recent days. He recalls this in one of his Semafor Africa reports, underlining how the African Union has declared 2024 the “Year of Education”. The AU itself has simultaneously asked all governments to accelerate investments in education, even in the face of economic, social, climate and health crises, to achieve sustainable development.

The most recent data shows that spending remained at 3.7% of GDP between 2012 and 2021, growing overall over that period by about 28.5% to $158 billion. Of the 54 countries on the continent, only 12 have allocated at least 15% of total public spending and at least 4% of GDP to education.

Bringing up the rear in this ranking was Central Africa, while East and West Africa fared a little better (with per capita spending between 70 and 90 dollars); remaining in sub-Saharan Africa, first place went to the southern region with an average expenditure which in 2021 stood at 186 dollars.

According to the UNESCO report, an additional $77 billion per year would be needed to achieve education goals and provide quality education for all.

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