Tweah Shares Thoughts At IMF-WB Forum -Says Education Is Bedrock for Development Everywhere

MONROVIA – The International Community has been restless finding ways to deal with a mix of shocks emitted by the combination of COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and other global factors. Obviously the solution lies in the sharing of thoughts and experiences of experts from various regions of the world. This might be the case with the international forum organized by the Breton Woods System, the IMF and World Bank, when they assembled some of the finest minds they could lay hands on, including Liberia’s Finance and Development Planning Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. As a high-level panelist during the Forum, Mr. Tweah, amongst other things, explored the significance of government’s focus in providing quality education to young people. The Analyst reports.

Liberia’s Finance Minister Samuel D. Tweah, Jr., was this week a panelist discussing the theme, “At The Heart Of A Resilient Future: Investing In Education For Our Children And Youth” on the third day of the  Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington DC, USA.

The forum comes from the backdrop of global concern over conflict, climate, and price shocks which have affected human capital progress and efforts to reduce inequality within and between countries. The forum was organized to discuss the effect of the pandemic on education to invest more in education, urging governments in sub-saharan Africa to rethink development by investing more in human capital just.

Minister Tweah said COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted economies of developing countries, disrupting economic activities including affecting resource mobilization which by extension affected critical sectors of economies including education.

He said much would be need by governments to stabilize the education sector through the service delivery, the recruitment of qualified and certificated teachers, improvement in girls education and learning outcomes.

Minister Tweah said with partnership from the World Bank, the Global Partnership for Education and UNICEF, the country now has an opportunity of spending more than $950 million dollars in the long-run to improve the education sector.

“In terms of aggregation, 60% amount to only 14% which is 6% percent short of the Sub-Saharan Africa average for education,” he said and added that no country can do any better in the education sector without allocating 20% or more to their education sector.

“We are hoping that the balance of 40 percent can be filled in through donor support or extra budgetary allocation once approved by the national Legislature”, he noted. Education cannot be ignored even though the outcomes appear abstract in the short run as compared to investment in electricity, roads and health. The results of infrastructure development which are physical or visible cannot be sustained without human capital”, he said.

The Liberian Finance Minister pointed out physical infrastructure dominates human capital because it is invisible.

Resources are being directed from growth related projects to subsidies for rice, fuel and fertilizers, he said, stressing the invisibility of human capital development which cannot be seen in the short run.

He called on finance ministers across South Saharan Africa to rethink development through the eyes of human capital development

This sort of partnership will help to build a new framework for education through digitization and optimum learning outcomes which will serve as a strong foundation for sustainable development in Africa and other regions.

Minister Tweah represented Africa on the panel which was moderated by the President of theWorld Bank President, David Malpass and included Shafiq Khan, President of Teach the World Foundation and Catherine Russel, Executive Director of UNICEF.

He explained nexus between education and development by providing evidentiary statistics on revenue generation and allocation to the sector, and made specific reference to Liberia. He said the Ministry of Education will need $586 million dollars in the next five years to meet the standard required for a competitive human capital development.

The meetings which started on October 10 and ending on 16th October, 2022 brought together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, parliamentarians, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the world economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness. Also featured are seminars, regional briefings, press conferences, and many other events focused on the global economy, international development, and the world’s financial system.

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