Education Spending in Africa

The impacts of COVID-19 and possible recovery pathways

Visit to Lafitsignana Primary school by the Danish Natcom and the Hempel Foundation


Education is a fundamental human right. The right to education has been highlighted in national constitutions globally and across the African continent. As the learning crisis continues to slow and reverse education gains across Africa and across the globe, it has become imperative to address all facets of learning so that human capital is not lost, and that no child is left behind. Urgent prioritization of domestic and external resources is key to improving the quality of education in Africa. This report is the result of an ongoing partnership between the African Union Commission (AUC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that aims to improve learning outcomes for all African children.

Under the partnership, the AUC and UNICEF want to facilitate engagement and highlevel policy discussions with African Union (AU) member states, regional economic communities, development partners, and other stakeholders, around renewing commitments for education financing. Recovering educational opportunities and learning lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to undermine the human capital base and development potential of Africa, needs to be one of the highest policy priorities for governments across the continent. This report intends to encourage decision makers to make education a chief concern. It unpacks the major spending deficiencies across the education sector, both before, during and after the pandemic, especially the lack of attention to early learning services and budget execution challenges. It also identifies practical options for governments to boost investments in education systems, which will accelerate progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA) 2016-25 in line with the African Union Agenda 2063. As we celebrate the AU Year of Education in 2024 under the theme “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa,” this report comes at an opportune time. It challenges AU member states to keep education financing at the core of public policies in Africa, with a strong message of re-committing to make education a budget priority. This includes a call to action for actors in the education sector, from the national level down to individual schools, to maximize the design, implementation, and ultimately, the impact of their budgets to improve learning outcomes. 

The AUC, UNICEF and partners stand ready to support AU member states to improve the quantity and quality of their investments in education

Education spending in Africa