By Obinna Chima
World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim on Wednesday announced that the Group would invest $2.5 billion over five years in education projects that directly benefit adolescent girls.
Kim, said empowerment of girls remains central to the group’s development efforts.
The announcement, made at the ‘Let Girls Learn’ event during the on-going World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings, was followed by a call to action from the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, urging key policymakers and influencers from around the world to commit to urgent action in support of adolescent girls.
“I’m very excited to join the First Lady in announcing this major boost in funding for adolescent girls’ education,” Kim said.
“Empowering and educating adolescent girls is one of the best ways to stop poverty from being passed from generation to generation, and can be transformational for entire societies. This increased funding will help provide countries, especially in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, with the tools to expand access to quality education so that all adolescent girls can go to school and reach their full potential.”
The US first lady highlighted the power of this investment in adolescent girls, as well as the transformative impact that adolescent girls’ education has on girls, their families and their countries.
“This isn’t just a breathtaking investment of resources, it’s also a powerful statement of mission – it’s an expression of our belief in the power of education to transform the lives and prospects of millions of girls worldwide – as well as the prospects of their families, communities and countries,” Obama said.
“The evidence is very clear: when we invest in girls’ education, and we embrace women in our workforce, that doesn’t just benefit them, it benefits all of us.”
By 2020 the Bank Group expects to invest at least $2.5 billion in education projects targeting adolescent girls (ages 12-17). About 75 per cent of these investments are expected to be from IDA, the Bank Group’s fund for the poorest countries, and largely in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, which have the highest number of out-of-school girls.