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Tackle Poverty to Bring Girls to School In Sub-Saharan Africa

Education for girls and women remain a challenge in sub-Saharan Africa - home to the largest population of out-of-school girls. The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated dropouts for adolescent girls, and up to 5 million girls globally may never return to school.

Poverty remains a key barrier to school enrolment, especially following the economic disruptions triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. Recent data shows that a higher proportion of girls report financial constraints as a primary challenge to pursuing their education and career aspirations. These constraints may be particularly felt in low-income countries, where 63% still charge secondary school tuition. Even when there are no fees, parents often still have to pay for uniforms, textbooks, and school supplies, writes Alessia Mortara, Primrose Adjepong and Onyinye Oguntoye for African Arguments.

In a bid to keep girls enrolled, governments, donors, and development partners are dedicating millions of dollars in funding. In 2021, G7 leaders pledged U.S.$2.75 billion to support the education of 40 million girls over the next five years. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE) has declared 12 years of education for girls as one of its main priorities.

A World Bank study - Out-of-School Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa - highlighted gender disparities in education, disasters, migration, armed conflict, extreme poverty, child labour, teenage pregnancies, and early and forced child marriages as hindering Africa's growth.

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