Last week the GPE organized its second Replenishment Conference. High-level attendance and pledges were clear indications that the GPE is becoming an ever more important institution in international education. This blog celebrates the news that the Fund will soon start reporting to OECD, and the benefits this will bring to the ability to effectively monitor financing for education.
Developing countries reliant on aid have traditionally faced huge challenges in accessing the necessary information on the external aid they receive for development, which remain crucial to helping them plan and effectively manage their resources. This is why clarity and transparency in aid flows is a key issue now and in the foreseeable future.
Within the health sector, both the Global Fund and the GAVI Alliance report their aid disbursements to the OECD, which annually collects information on where aid goes. The Global Partnership for Education (GPE), on the other hand, has to date not been reporting the funds it has disbursed, leaving it unclear exactly how much the poorest countries are receiving for education. It is therefore welcome news that the GPE is planning to become a reporting agency in the coming years.
There are four main reasons for celebrating this news:
- Knowing precisely how much aid low income countries receive for education
Over the last decade a large share of aid for education has been classed by the OECD as “bilateral unspecified”. Much of this murky ‘unspecified’ aid is likely to be made up of the funds from donors such as the UK, which are being channeled through GPE. This aid represents a substantial sum: In the case of total aid to basic education, levels have increased 8-fold over the last decade. As a share of total aid to basic education, aid packaged away as “bilateral unspecified” rose from 3% in 2002 to 12% by 2012 (Figure 1).
Until the GPE reporting begins, OECD aid data will only tell part of the story because some donors are reporting their GPE-related contributions transparently; others less so. This ambiguity undermines our ability to determine aid flows over time and by country. In the case of Ethiopia, for example, where well over 1 million children are out of school, current OECD data likely underestimate the amount the country receives through GPE, as can be said for other GPE recipient countries. In the future, however, it will become far easier to paint a fuller picture of aid resources available for education at the national level.
Figure 1: The rising importance of aid for basic education going to “bilateral unspecified”
Volumes and share of basic education aid disbursed to ”bilateral unspecified”, 2002-2013