$100 Million Initiative to Help Fund Education in Low-Income Countries

$100 Million Initiative to Help Fund Education in Low-Income Countries

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Education Above All (EAA) in Doha, Qatar, have announced a $100 million initiative in support of primary education in low-income countries.

Announced on Friday at the United Nations General Assembly meeting, the initiative will enable low-income countries with little or no credit on the international financial markets to access loan funding that they can invest in enrolling out-of-school children in primary education. To that end, IsDB's Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development will be made available to low-income member countries on a concessionary loan basis for education projects that are co-financed with NGOs, the government, and/or the private sector. Education Above All, a global foundation that has advocated for the approach, will be responsible for monitoring and evaluating projects.

One of the first countries to benefit from the initiative, Mali, will receive a $31 million loan that it will use to leverage $144 million in additional funding from EAA, the Qatar Fund for Development, and the U.S.-based Education Development Center.

"We can see that many of our member countries struggle to access finance on the global credit market; with our mandate to promote growth and development for our member countries, we are launching this dedicated fund, with the support of all our members, to finance educational initiatives that will help to improve educational outcomes for the next generation," said Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development director general Waleed Al Wohaib. "It is only by giving children access to education that we can truly help lift more families out of poverty and encourage sustained economic growth for our member nations."

(Photo credit: Islamic Development Bank)