Girls’ education to get $2bn World Bank boost

14 Apr 16

The World Bank has announced it will spend $2.5bn on education projects targeting adolescent girls over the next five years.


The bank’s president, Jim Yong Kim, made the announcement yesterday during this week’s World Bank-IMF spring meetings in Washington, joined by America’s first lady Michelle Obama, who applauded the news.

Obama said the announcement symbolised more than “just a breathtaking investment of resources”.

“It’s also a powerful statement of mission – an expression of our belief in the power of education to transform the lives and prospects of millions of girls worldwide – as well as the prospects of their families, communities and countries,” she stated.

The programmes the bank will support will entail a range of measures to provide 12-17 year old girls with access to quality secondary education and ensure they get enrolled and stay in school.

It will support the provision of scholarships, roll out of relevant cash transfer programmes, and equip schools with basic facilities, like clean drinking water and toilets, in order to promote enrolment.

Around the world, 62 million girls are not in school of whom about half are adolescents.

A World Bank study found that every year of secondary school education is correlated with an 18% increase in a girl’s future earning power.

Other research suggests that this also has a multiplier effect: better educated women are healthier, participate more in the formal labour market, earn more income, give birth to fewer children, marry later and provide better health care and education to their children.

Kim emphasised that empowering and educating adolescent girls can be transformative for entire societies, as one of the best ways to stop poverty passing on from generation to generation.

“This increased funding will help provide countries, especially in regions like sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with the tools to expand quality education so that all adolescent girls can go to school and reach their full potential.”

Obama too said the evidence was clear that investing in girls’ education “doesn’t just benefit them, it benefits all of us”. 

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