Press Release

Belgium invests in quality education in Africa

Belgium is committing an additional 4 million euro to support quality education in Africa, with an emphasis on teacher training. Minister for Development Cooperation Caroline Gennez made the announcement on Wednesday during an event in Brussels. The event, 'Improving Educational Attainment and Learning for Girls', falls within the framework of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union and is organised together with UNESCO. "Together with our partners, we aim to have a qualified teacher in every classroom. We want to empower young people through teaching them the skills they need in a 21st century economy. That way, we not only invest in children's education, but also in their overall future - this is especially true for girls," said Caroline Gennez.

The extra 4 million euro from Belgium will go to a European Global Gateway project, 'Regional Teacher's Initiative Africe' (RTIA), which is committed to the training of teachers in Africa. Enabel, the Belgian agency for Development Cooperation will be responsible for the implementation. It will also work together with the VVOB (Flemish Association for Development Cooperation and Technical Assistance) and the APEFE (Association pour la Promotion de l'Education et de la Formation à l'Etranger).  

The Belgian approach emphasizes climate and gender equality education, digitalisation and teacher training, and on-the-job training. In addition to financial support, Belgium will contribute its experience and expertise on these topics. 

"Education is a human right and a fundamental part of sustainable development worldwide," said Caroline Gennez. "Belgium and the EU are strong partners in this. The results of investing in education go beyond schooling – especially for girls. Young people have a prospect on better employment and wages, live healthier lives, marry later and do better at family planning. Moreover, there is a deep and lasting impact on society: lower maternal and child mortality rates, fewer child marriages, more economic growth and a reduction in inequality. Investments in education make societies stronger, more stable and resilient." 

RTIA has already received around 100 million euro in European support. Belgium is also an active partner on the ground, along with Finland and France, among others.  

During the event Wednesday, the first 'African Teacher Report' by the International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa, part of UNESCO (UNESCO-IICBA), was also presented. 

The report documents, on one hand, the benefits of investing in education for girls, including the positive impact on prosperity, health, and a reduction in partner violence and child mortality. It also illustrates the key role teachers play in improving educational outcomes for girls.  

Caroline Gennez is pleased that Belgium plays a key role in RTIA: "The focus of our Belgian international solidarity is investing in strong welfare states, also in Africa. Strong and inclusive education is of vital importance here. And solid education is impossible without well-trained teachers. Moreover, this is how we contribute to the social dimension of the European Global Gateway strategy, which can strengthen our partnership with Africa."