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Education is one of the most powerful tools for reducing poverty and increasing equality. Education is also essential for propelling sustained economic growth and globally competitive economies. Yet providing basic education for all children in developing countries has been, and remains, an unmet challenge of governments and international organizations alike. In Africa alone, it is estimated that 9 million girls up to the age of 11 will never see a classroom.
Broad-based education is associated with the faster diffusion of information in the economy, which is crucial for increased productivity in both the traditional and modern sectors. Research indicates that higher levels of primary education contribute to better natural resource management, including conservation of the tropical rain forest, and more rapid technological adaptation and innovation.
When a large share of children do not complete primary education, the productivity of the labor force, the potential for knowledge-driven development, and the reservoir of human potential from which society and the economy can draw are all fundamentally constrained.
IFC works actively with governments to take advantage of the private sector’s considerable expertise in the education sector to improve both the access to, and quality of, educational services in their countries.