Home » GPE and partners pledge additional $350 million to SmartEd initiative

GPE and partners pledge additional $350 million to SmartEd initiative

by Madaline Dunn

During its 2024 Annual Meetings and Golden Jubilee Celebration, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Arab Coordination Group (ACG) and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to pledge an additional $350 million towards SmartEd.

Of this $350, $150 million was pledged by the Islamic Development Bank, $100 million from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), $50 million from the Islamic Solidarity Fund and $50 million from GPE.

SmartEd was launched in 2021 and utilises the GPE Multiplier, a tool that secures $4 from other donors for every $1 provided by GPE.

It is aimed at helping lower-income countries address critical education challenges, boosting access to quality education in 37 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which includes 28 million out-of-school children. 

To date, SmartEd has allocated $350 million to projects in Cameroon, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Uzbekistan.

In 2023, Uzbekistan leveraged $160 million in co-financing through SmartEd to secure a $40 million GPE Multiplier grant, which encouraged the Government of Uzbekistan to contribute an additional $20 million.

This culminated in a $220 million financial package aimed at improving equitable access to quality education and enhancing the efficiency of the education system. 

In Uzbekistan, SmartEd funds are also being used to construct and equip over 80 schools and to improve education management information systems for better data-driven decision-making.

H.E. Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, IsDB Group Chairman, said: “As we reflect on our significant impact and growth over the past five decades, we are thrilled by how innovative financing has enhanced our efforts in children’s education.”

Adding: “The success of SmartEd will drive our efforts forward, strengthening partnerships that enable us to offer greater access to quality education and essential skills for a future-ready generation.”

“Globally, a staggering 250 million children are not attending school, representing a severe crisis compounded by limited resources,” noted Laura Frigenti, CEO of GPE. 

“Amid these challenges, SmartEd offers a ray of hope and a reason to celebrate. We are eager to work with our Gulf partners to expand on its success, preparing more children for a prosperous future.”

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