Accra, July 14, GNA - Thirteen African Heads of State have appealed to governments in donor countries for financial support to make Education for All (EFA) a lasting legacy of the World Cup 2010 for the benefit of Africa's children.
A press statement issued by the World Bank Ghana Office in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the Presidents of Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, The Gambia, Ghana, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Rwanda and the Prime Minister of Lesotho, had emphasized that education was key in reducing poverty and creating an overall healthier and skilled population.
Consequently, their governments had stepped up their own funding for education, and despite impressive gains in enrolling children into school in African countries and primary school completion rates, external aid for education in low-income countries was faltering.
"These African governments ask in particular support for the Education for All Fast-Track Initiative (EFA-FTI), which is seen as a key ally in their efforts to provide quality education to all boys and girls in their countries" the statement added.
It said the EFA-FTI had provided support to education in 24 African countries and had helped to enrol 19 million more children in school in those countries.
"The completion of a full course of primary school for all children by 2015 was one of the eight Millennium Development Goals which was discussed at a 1GOAL Education for All summit in South Africa convened by South African President Jacob Zuma on the day of the World Cup finals" it noted.
It further said the ceremony marked a culmination in efforts led by the 1Goal campaign and football's world governing body, FIFA, to push basic education in Africa higher up on the global agenda.
It also said progress on the education goals would be a key topic of a UN summit in September 2010.
The statement said increasing support to FTI would help reach millions of children around the world, and about half in Sub-Saharan Africa who still do not go to school.
"An estimated 14 million out-of-school children, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, live in countries seeking support from EFA-FTI this year and next" it added.
It said to create a level playing field for all children around the world, the African leaders would commit to increasing domestic resources for achieving EFA.
"By the time we meet in September 2010 at the UN Millennium Development Summit in New York, we look forward to new commitments from donor countries as well" it added.
The statement said EFA-FTI was created in 2002 and had grown to become a global partnership endorsing the education plans of 41 low-income countries around the world, including 24 in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It said to date, EFA-FTI had granted US$2 billion to support the education strategies of developing countries. These funds had helped to train more than 300,000 teachers, construct 28,000 classrooms, and distribute over 200 million text books.