Policy Updates

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USAID launches new international basic education strategy

April 15, 2024 | US, Education | Share this update

On April 15, 2024, USAID announced a new US government-wide strategy on international basic education, bringing together ten US government entities to reaffirm its commitment to an inclusive and quality education worldwide.

The strategy spans from 2024-2029 and is intended to expand the reach of the previous strategy, particularly for those most marginalized. It stated the intent to learn from the lessons of COVID-19 and make educational systems more resilient and inclusive. The strategy will implement four approaches, including local ownership, capacity strengthening, equity and inclusion, and data based decision-making.

Press release - USAID

German Minister of Finance outlines strict cost saving plan for 2025

March 18, 2024 | International development | Share this update

On March 18, 2024, German Minister of Finance Christian Lindner addressed a financial shortfall of $27 billion, compared to the 2024 budget.

Lindner informed all ministers that they will have to expect considerable cuts to their ministries' budgets. The overall budget is currently expected to be sat at US$489 billion, US$27 billion less than the 2024 budget, or a 5.3% decrease.

  • The Ministry for Digital and Transport faces the largest absolute cut at US$6 billion, dropping from US$47.8 billion to US$42.2 billion (-11.8%);
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to reduce its budget by US$1.5 billion, coming from US$7.3 billion to US$5.8 billion (-20.3%);
  • The BMZ is slated to come down from US$12.2 billion to US$11.1 billion, reducing its budget by $1 billion (-8.4%); and
  • The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs is one of the few ministries that are expected to receive more money than in 2023. The ministry is currently expected to receive $3.1 billion more, growing from US$190.4 billion in 2024 to US$193.4 billion (+0.6%).

Lindner urged his cabinet colleagues to adhere strictly to the designated budget allocations in their financial planning, advising against any additional requests for funds. Ministers are expected to submit their expenditure proposals to the Ministry of Finance by April 19.

News article - Merkur.de (in German)

Italy approves additional US$42 million for humanitarian assistance in Horn of Africa, Sahel, and North Africa

November 9, 2023 | Italy | Share this update

On November 9, 2023, Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Edmondo Cirielli announced an additional US$42 million (EUR39 million) for humanitarian interventions in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and North Africa.

Cirielli signaled that stability of the African continent and the growth of African countries are among the highest priorities of Italian foreign policy.

Ethiopia is slated to receive a contribution for humanitarian projects to be implemented by Italian CSOs (EUR20 million (US$21 million)) and the UN (EUR5 million (US$6 million)). Ethiopia is one of the recipient countries of the International Donors' Conference for the Horn of Africa, which was co-organized by Italy in May 2022 with the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs and the governments of the US, UK, and Qatar.

Italy renewed its commitment to refugees, displaced persons, and host communities in the Sahel, with two contributions to UNHCR approved to the populations of Burkina Faso (EUR3 million (US$4 million)) and Niger (EUR2 million (US$2 million)).

Italy also approved US$1 million (EUR1 million) to UNICEF to respond to the consequences of Storm Daniel, which hit northeastern Libya on September 10, 2023, and US$4 million (EUR4 million) to UNICEF and UNHCR to respond to the February 2023 earthquake in Türkiye and Syria.

Press release - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (in Italian)

UK launches Rwandan education projects

August 31, 2023 | UK, Education | Share this update

On August, 31, 2023 UK Minister for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell announced UK funding for two new education projects in Rwanda.

The first program is the UK’s new Girls in Rwanda Learn program, a seven-year partnership with UNICEF that aims to retain at-risk girls in school and support schoolchildren with disabilities. The second program is the launch of a Digital Library. Access to the Library will be free for a year and plans to span over 800,000 literary resources. The project is a British Council initiative.

Press release - UK government

Canada commits US$66 million for child education in crisis situations

February 16, 2023 | Canada, Education, Gender Equality | Share this update

On February 16, 2023, Canadian International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan committed CA$88 million (US$66 million) to ECW, the UN global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises.

Canada’s contribution is focused on supporting quality education for girls and young women living in hard-to-reach, fragile, or conflict-affected regions. The contribution also includes funding to ECW’s Multi-Year Resilience Program in Bangladesh, as part of Canada’s strategy to respond to the Rohingya and Myanmar crises.

Sajjan made the announcement virtually at ECW’s High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva. Canada helped establish ECW in 2016 and is currently its seventh-largest donor.

Press release - Global Affairs Canada

UK conducts review of assistance to Afghanistan; releases recommendations for future ODA

December 20, 2022 | UK | Share this update

On December 20, 2022, the UK’s International Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI) released a review of UK ODA to Afghanistan which found that while UK ODA to Afghanistan undoubtedly helped Afghans by improving their literacy and reducing child mortality, it failed in its primary objective of building a functioning Afghan state.

The UK spent £2 billion (US$2.4 billion) in ODA between 2014 and 2020 trying to stabilize Afghanistan. ICAI gave the UK government an ‘amber-red’ rating for its assistance to Afghanistan in light of the findings, indicating unsatisfactory in most areas with modest positive results.

ICAI made three recommendations for the UK government from the review:

  • The UK must ensure that any support to a state is provided only where there is a viable, inclusive political settlement– in the absence of these factors, the funding is likely to not be effective and could even be damaging;
  • The UK should avoid using ODA to fund police or other security agencies engaging in paramilitary operations, given the risks of such funding being used to harm citizens' human rights; and
  • Finally, the UK should use scenario planning to inform spending levels and programs.
Report - ICAI

US commits US$55 billion over 2022-2025 at US-Africa Leaders Summit

December 15, 2022 | US, Agriculture, Climate, Global Health, Nutrition, Education | Share this update

The US-African Leaders Summit, held in Washington, D.C. from December 13-15, 2022, brought a number of African leaders together with top officials from the Biden Administration, with the US making a total of US$55 billion in commitments over 2022-2025.

The summit, an effort by President Biden to reset relations from the previous administration, focused on reinforcing existing commitments as well as creating and expanding partnerships across the African continent. Key topics included food security, climate change, health care and pandemic preparations, inclusive economies, good governance, human rights, and peace and security.

The US also made commitments to better ensure timely follow-up and implementation, including appointing high-level staff to steer the US plans. However, spectators raised concerns that although the number of commitments was significant, they lacked a cohesive strategy. Observers also stressed the importance of timely and meaningful implementation in order for all of the initiatives to deliver real results.

Among the development commitments by the US was an additional US$2 billion in humanitarian assistance for food, water, health care, and other critical support. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) also announced new commitments to address food insecurity in partnership with the African Union. as well as a US$350 million Digital Transformation With Africa initiative to expand digital access and literacy.

Press release - The White HousePress release - USAIDNews article - Devex

Canadian think tank calls for new priorities in education ODA to South Asia

October 24, 2022 | Canada, Education | Share this update

An October 24, 2022 op-ed by Canada’s Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) argued that Canada should reassess its priorities for education development spending in South Asia.

The op-ed called for the prioritization of projects run by NGOs and other non-state actors over bilateral and multilateral transfers to host governments.

The IRPP argued that the system of transfers to host countries failed to improve education outcomes over the last decade and yielded poor results overall, and called for new approaches. The op-ed used the bridge schools piloted by BRAC, a large NGO in Bangladesh with the capacity to undertake major education projects, as a case study which yielded clear learning outcomes and results.

The IRPP noted that while per-capita income increased in South Asia since 2000, the majority of students are still not learning foundational literacy and numeracy skills, making it difficult for these youth to access higher-wage jobs. Instead of allocating education assistance primarily through host government education ministries, funding could be maximized via projects like the BRAC non-formal education programme (NFPE) and equivalent projects with other non-state actors.

Press release - Op-ed - Institute for Research on Public Policy

Youth committee advises Netherlands to prioritise education, labor market

August 12, 2022 | Netherlands, Education | Share this update

Six months after its inception, the Youth Advisory Committee met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands to share experiences and ideas for foreign policy. The committee recommended that the Netherlands combat global unemployment among young people by adapting education systems and strengthening entrepreneurship.

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Youth Council set up the committee to involve young people in the ministry’s decision-making, for instance around youth participation, media literacy, and employment. The committee comprises ten people below 30 from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and the Netherlands. Members share their insights and pose critical questions about the Ministry’s development policy when needed.

The committee met with the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher and Director-General for International Cooperation Kitty van der Heijden. The committee highlighted the issue of unemployment among young people in their countries, with many graduates lacking skills needed for the labor market. Using examples from their own countries, members of the committee pointed out potential opportunities in digital content and social media for work and entrepreneurship, as well as education on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR). The committee also encouraged Dutch embassies globally to set up local youth advisory committees to gain better local insight from young people.

The Youth Advisory Committee is an 18-month pilot project. The committee previously advised on the new Dutch development strategy.

Letter - Blog – Dutch Government (in Dutch) (in Dutch)Press release - Website – Youth Advisory Committee

Following dismal literacy results, experts call for renewed Australian attention on early childhood education initiatives in Pacific Islands

February 14, 2020 | Australia, Education | Share this update

A recently released Pacific Island Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (PILNA) indicates that only half of Pacific Island children aged eight to ten meet the regional literacy benchmark for their grade, compared to 95% in Australia.

Despite high primary school enrollment, literacy remains a serious challenge across the Pacific. Pacific Island nations are moving to address this issue, but despite impressive gains made in the last three years, achieving high literacy rates will take significant time. Experts argue that the region needs greater development assistance for education to improve literacy among younger children.

While Australia does provide development assistance for education, it generally goes to older children or those who leave school. Some have cautioned against the sidelining of Australia's funding for education in favor of other priorities such as economic development, infrastructure, security, and private sector development.

Blog - Development Policy Centre

Development Policy Centre






US$ amounts are cited directly from sources; in the absence of an official conversion, they are calculated using the previous week's average of the US Federal Reserve's daily exchange rates.

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