Zambia, European Union sign €110 million financing agreements to support social reforms, education


Zambia has signed two financing agreements with the European Union (EU), amounting to €110 million.

The two agreements included financing for social reforms, amounting to €60 million budget support programme, aimed at improving access, quality, equity and inclusiveness in primary and secondary education.

Zambia’s Minister of Education, Douglas Syakalima, signed on behalf of Zambia while the EU Commissioner for International Partnership, Jutta Urpilainen, signed for the EU in Brussels, at the Global Gateway high-level event on Education.

This is according to a statement issued by First Secretary Press in Brussels, Belgium, Hambaya Munang’andu on Friday and made available to the media.

Munang’andu said the first agreement included support to public financial management while the other agreement was on equal chances for human development amounting to €50 million.

“It is aimed at holistically improving Early Childhood Education and Development (ECED) with focus on the Luapula and North Western provinces,” he stated.

Earlier in a panel discussion, Syakalima said the President of Zambia, Hakainde Hichilema declared free education from early childhood to secondary school immediately he came into office.

Syakalima added that this was because of the realisation that if the government did not invest in free education, its people would not be competitive in the future.

“Government has increased funding to education from eight percent to 14 percent and has further empowered the local communities through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) by increasing it from K1.6 million to K30.6 million,” he said.

Syakalima stated that most of the CDF goes to funding education infrastructure and support to learners.

He said the government in 2022 recruited over 30,000 teachers, in order to improve the pupil teacher ratio, especially with an increase in enrolments triggered by the free education policy, which saw over two million children going back to school.

Urpilainen said the EU had increased its investments in education from seven percent to 13 percent in 2021 to 2023.

“The EU, provides over half of the global Official Development Assistance (ODA) to education through different levels which include bilaterally, regionally and globally adding that it will continue to do so up to 2025,” she stated.

Read More: Ministry of Finance claims K356 million misused in Ministry of Education between 2022 and 2023

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, said though education was a key ingredient for economic stability and inclusiveness, access to education was still a challenge for far too many people.

Georgieva said the role of her organisation was to help governments to implement budgets that can sustainably finance priority investments like education.

“The IMF financial assistance requires governments, to protect spending on education, health and social support,” she stated.

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