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Education In Africa – Must do better!

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Senegal's President Sall during the opening of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (L) meets with Senegal’s President Macky Sall during the opening of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, July 13, 2015. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri – RTX1K72P[/caption]As the third international Conference on Financing for Development gets under way in Ethiopia it’s worth highlighting the central role that education must play in developing Africa’s new generation.

At the recent Oslo Summit on Education the key takeaway was that we must do better together. And that its never just about money but about the political will for governments, teachers and business to boost their efforts and work better together. In Africa we have over sixteen million children who have no schools to attend and a serious shortfall of teachers. It is an urgent problem as those children will soon grow into adults without any of the necessary skills to survive and prosper in their lives .

It’s encouraging that Ban Ki Moon has announced the setting up of a new High Level Commission on the Financing of Global Education Opportunities with the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the helm in his role as the UN Special Envoy for Global Education. And good that he has a deadline of September 2016 to deliver his report.

We must hope that this initiative is at the heart of this week’s Summit in Addis Ababa as Heads of State and Finance Ministers gather to discuss new ways of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. Without education every other goal is frankly unsustainable.

There is no doubt that we need to create a dedicated fund to bolster education if yet another generation of our poorest children are to receive the start in life that they deserve.

Consider this – in 2050 one in four children will be African. We need to make sure they have schools and teachers and real futures. To achieve that we need to start now and the Addis Summit is as good a place to start as any.

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