Good education for all is the key to a better long-term future for the Sahel region. Education improves employability and incomes, narrows gender gaps, lifts families out of poverty, strengthens institutions, and yields benefits that echo to the next generation.
Millions more children in school, yet access to quality education remains a challenge. The good news is that the region has taken the important first steps toward building this future.
Over the past 15 years, many more children have been able to access education: enrollment in the region has nearly doubled in primary education and tripled in secondary education. Governments have launched numerous initiatives and announced high-level commitments in support of education.
Still, many children remain out of school, and those who are in school learn far less than they should.
Only 12% of the children are enrolled in school and can read and comprehend an age-appropriate passage by the end of primary school. In every Sahel country, fewer than 50% of adult females are literate, compared with 59% in Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.
Yet, there are many reasons for hope. Communities are playing a key role in creating and improving schools. Similarly, public-private partnerships can extend the reach of the state, in a region where religious and secular private providers already educate many children.
Building on past gains and current strengths, the Sahel Education White Paper identifies real game-changers for countries to improve their education outcomes.