Historic Global Partnership for Education (GPE) Board Meeting in Zanzibar Marks Twin Milestones.

In a landmark series of events, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) achieved two significant milestones during its latest Board of Directors meeting that was held recently in Zanzibar.

The Board convened for the first time on African soil, led by former Tanzanian President H.E. Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, signifying a pivotal commitment to international educational assistance.

Dr Kikwete, the Settlor and Chairman of the JMKF Board of Trustees, also made history as the first African to lead the organization in its 21-year existence.

The two-day meeting, held on December 5 and 6, 2023, commenced with opening remarks from the Second Vice President of Zanzibar, H.E. Hemed Suleiman Abdullah, underlining the substantial partnership between GPE and the Tanzanian Government.

Before the official proceedings, Zanzibar’s President, H.E. Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi, and First Lady, H.E. Mariam Mwinyi, hosted GPE Board Members at the State House, marking the collaborative success.

During the event, the Board visited local primary schools, witnessing first-hand the tangible impact of collective action in shaping the future of Tanzanian youth. GPE records underscore an investment exceeding $330 million in Tanzania’s educational initiatives over the past decade.

Dr Kikwete emphasized that the first day’s discussions centred around crucial topics such as the African Union Year of Education and the Global Refugee Summit.

Building on a ministerial communique from 86 partner countries, urgent calls for transformative actions in education and enhanced support from the education aid financing architecture were paramount. 

Critical decisions emerged from the meeting, including positive dialogues with the World Bank to reduce hosting recovery fees, explore non-sovereign donor support, and reinforce country systems. 

Notably, the Board maintained the World Bank’s secretariat. It increased the Multiplier envelope for the GPE 2025 financing period from $755 million to $950 million. 

Announcements were made regarding eligibility expansions for Lebanon and Jordan, considering changes in economic classification and the impact of hosting refugees.

The Board also advocated for increased funding for the Girls’ Education Accelerator. 

On the second day of the meeting, I delved into learning partnerships, discussing gender equality, innovative financing, and system transformation.

Updates on the Multilateral Organisation Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN) assessment, lead exposure’s impact on learning outcomes, and measures to prevent misuse of funds and sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment (PSEAH) were presented.

The meeting concluded with Norway announcing a $2.9 million allocation to the sub-account for the West Bank and Gaza, addressing urgent education needs.

Dr. Kikwete announced the next Board of Directors meeting scheduled for June 2024 in Berlin, Germany, reaffirming continued efforts towards global education transformation. 

Founded in 2002 as the Education for All Fast Track Initiative (FTI), GPE evolved in 2011 to reflect an expanded mandate and increased focus on supporting developing countries to achieve their education goals.  

Today, GPE plays a crucial role in advocating for and supporting education in vulnerable communities, with a steadfast emphasis on equity and access for all children.

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