Islamic Development Bank President Calls for Increased Investment in Education at Doha Forum

Doha, Qatar (May 15, 2024) - At the High-Level Dialogue on Education: Funding the Future, hosted by the Education Above All Foundation on the sidelines of the Qatar Economic Forum today, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), urged greater global investment to transform education systems in low and lower-middle-income countries.

Dr. Al Jasser highlighted the critical role of education in driving productivity, innovation, poverty reduction, and social mobility. He emphasized that inadequate funding remains a major barrier preventing millions of youth from accessing quality education that equips them with the skills needed for evolving labor markets. Citing World Bank estimates, he noted that an additional $39 billion annually is required to meet education-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"In our increasingly turbulent world, education finds itself both as a casualty and a catalyst for addressing pressing global issues," stated Dr. Al Jasser. "However, overcoming persistent challenges demands increased investment in education, a priority that many developing countries struggle to uphold amidst reduced fiscal space and escalating debt burdens."

The IsDB has played a significant role in financing education initiatives across its 57 member countries. To date, the IsDB has provided over $5.8 billion in education loans and grants. Dr. Al Jasser announced that the bank's Scholarship Program has empowered over 19,000 students and scholars from 56 member countries and 66 Muslim communities worldwide.

Dr. Al Jasser called on governments, multilateral development banks, and private institutions to collaborate on substantive reforms. He advocated for a shift from traditional classroom learning to digital technology that fosters creativity and self-learning.

"I urge experts to offer tangible, actionable solutions that development partners and decision-makers can implement to catalyze meaningful reforms in education systems," Dr. Al Jasser stated. "It is imperative that we move beyond rhetoric and take decisive action."

The High-Level Dialogue convened government leaders, education experts, NGOs, and international organizations to identify policy reforms to enhance education funding in the developing world.