More than 30 per cent of all children worldwide who are not enrolled in school live in West and Central Africa ‒ mainly in Nigeria, DR Congo and the Sahelian countries. The reasons are diverse, but often centre on poverty, rural residence, gender, disability and lack of school facilities.
Many of these 29 million primary school-age children and 12 million of lower-secondary age have never attended school. Others may enter late or drop out without completing primary education. Some nine million of these children were caught in humanitarian emergencies in 2018.
Rapid population growth in West and Central Africa calls for significantly increased access to education for all children. Only when this takes place can education perform its vital role of supporting socio-economic development, building resilience and ensuring that children can play an active role in their societies.