Following the Accra Meeting of Ministers of finance and education of the governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo
A coalition for Education in Western and Central Africa
1. We, the Heads of Government Delegations, met in Accra, Ghana, on June 27, 2022, at the invitation of the Government of Ghana and the World Bank for the launch of the World Bank’s new regional education strategy for Western and Central Africa. We thank the Government and the people of Ghana for their warm welcome and generous hospitality.
2. Our children are the future, and their education is key to meeting our goals for inclusive and sustainable development. We agreed on the power and necessity of quality education to develop the person, the citizen, and the values that cement society and ensure its solidarity. We also reaffirmed our commitment to SDG4 (ensuring a quality education for all).
3. While acknowledging the specificity of each country, we discussed the common education challenges facing our region, key goals and methods to improve learning, and the critical importance of education financing, especially in light of the consequences of the COVID‐19 pandemic.
4. We share in the vision of a Western and Central Africa “where all girls and boys arrive at school ready to learn, acquire real learning, and are ready to enter the job market with the right skills to become productive and fulfilled citizens.” We affirm our commitment to make this vision a reality, and we endorse this “Accra Urgent Call for Action on Education.”
Commitments – The What
5. While we celebrate the significant progress made, we recognize that we are still far from having reached quality education for all in Western and Central Africa. With a sense of urgency reinforced by the consequences of the COVID‐19 pandemic, we commit to ensuring that a comprehensive approach to education is a priority in our development strategies as a key factor for social and economic progress.
6. We commit to reduce Learning Poverty – the share of 10‐year‐olds who are unable to read and understand a short text – and will use this as a proxy metric of progress on education quality and foundational skills.
7. We commit to increase girls’ secondary school enrollment and will track progress on this important metric of progress on inclusive education.
8. We commit to increase tertiary education enrollment, especially in STEM and other disciplines relevant to our labor markets, and will monitor the relevant indicators to improve skills and employment.
9. We acknowledge that the primary responsibility for successfully implementing education reforms sits with governments, and we will act with urgency.
10. To help hold ourselves accountable for these commitments, we will publicize quantifiable country specific targets for 2025 and 2030 to reduce learning poverty, increase girls’ secondary school enrollment, and expand access to skills training and tertiary education. We also agree to provide annual updates on progress, develop regional solutions to common challenges, and exchange lessons learned to inspire and inform one another.
Commitments – The How
11. We recognize that progress requires strong political leadership, well‐governed systems, and technical capacity to implement reforms. To monitor progress, support decision‐making, and enhance accountability, we will develop better data, especially learning data, and make them easily available to all concerned. This commitment is a necessary pre‐condition to enable key actions in support of the sector.
12. We will improve further the efficacy and efficiency of our education spending. We reaffirm commitments to increase the share of public spending and gross domestic product allocated to education to align with international and regional benchmarks. We also recognize the importance of non‐state and private providers and the need to ensure the integrity and quality of their offerings through proper supervision and regulation.
13. We will actively engage parents, communities, civil society organizations, and the private sector to develop and deliver quality education.
14. Early childhood development and quality pre‐primary education are essential to ensure children arrive at school ready to learn; we will make the necessary investments by harnessing public and private resources.
15. Teachers are critical to improve the delivery of quality education: we will ensure that system‐level policies are in place to appropriately recruit, prepare, support, manage, and motivate teachers.
16. We will endeavor to eliminate both the supply‐ and demand‐side barriers that lead to large populations of out‐of‐school children and adolescents, including the importance of safe and supportive learning environments.
17. To support gender equality across education outcomes, we will implement gender‐sensitive policies and programs and monitor progress regularly.
18. We will provide more and better suited opportunities for people in the region to access informal and formal skills training, including through technical and vocational education and training, second chance, and lifelong learning programs, that develop entrepreneurial, digital, socio‐emotional, and other job‐related skills.
19. We will also provide more equitable and expanded access to quality tertiary education and enhanced research, that align with the needs of today’s economy and prepare for the future.
20. A significant proportion of the region’s population lives in conflict‐affected areas, including those who are now displaced or refugees; we commit to developing more resilient and adaptive education systems to respond to conflicts, climate‐related hazards, pandemics, and other external shocks to our education systems.
21. Equity and inclusion are hallmarks of our common education agenda; we will continuously monitor and adapt our policies to support better outcomes for the most marginalized children, including those with disabilities and those in families affected by fragility, conflict, or violence.
22. We will harness the power of technology to support our education objectives. Technology must play a crucial role in providing new and innovative forms of support to teachers, students, and the broader learning process while also enhancing the equity, quality, resiliency, and efficiency of our education systems.
On June 27, 2022, at Accra, Republic of Ghana