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Education finance in sub-Saharan Africa

Cover of the UIS education finance reportA new report by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Financing education in sub-Saharan Africa, presents comprehensive data for the past decade for 45 African countries.

The number of children enrolled in primary school in sub-Saharan Africa grew from 87 million in 2000 to 129 million in 2008, an increase of 48 percent. Over the 1999-2009 decade, real public expenditure on education, adjusted for inflation, grew on average by 6.1 percent per year, based on data from 26 countries. The highest annual growth rates of education spending in sub-Saharan Africa, over 12 percent, were observed in Mozambique and Burundi. Of the countries with data, only the Central African Republic experienced a decline in public expenditure on education.

The countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined spend 5.0 percent of their GDP on education, the second highest value of the eight EFA regions, after North America and Western Europe, where 5.3 percent of the regional GDP is spent on the education sector.

The figure below shows data on education expenditure in 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The horizontal axis indicates a country's total public expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). The vertical axis indicates a country's total public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure. Total public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP can be calculated as the product of the two values plotted along the vertical and horizontal axes.

Public education expenditure / GDP =
(Public education expenditure / Total public expenditure) × (Total public expenditure / GDP)

The three curves in the graph indicate where total public expenditure on education is equal to 2, 5 or 10 percent of GDP. Countries with higher expenditures on education as a percentage of GDP are found near the upper right corner of the graph, countries with lower expenditures near the lower left corner. For the countries in the graph, public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP ranges from 1.3 percent in the Central Africal Republic to 12.4 percent in Lesotho.

Total public expenditure on education as a percentage of total public expenditure in relation to total public expenditure as a percentage of GDP
Scatter plot with education finance data for 28 countries in sub-Saharan Africa
Source: UIS 2011, page 30, Figure 11

Reference
  • UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS). 2011. Financing education in sub-Saharan Africa: Meeting the challenges of expansion, equity and quality. Montreal: UIS. (Download in PDF format, 8.7 MB)
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Friedrich Huebler, 31 May 2011 (edited 1 June 2011), Creative Commons License
Permanent URL: http://huebler.blogspot.com/2011/05/ssa.html

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