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Financing the Education Gap: Can African Countries Afford their SDG 4 Benchmarks?

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In line with our mission to drive achievement and development by enabling quality and inclusive education for peoples and government, Edugist organizes monthly roundtables to discuss and share ideas on how to improve the educational system in Nigeria and Africa at large.

The event gathers together experts, policymakers, educators, students, and other stakeholders in the education sector to address key challenges and opportunities in education, and to explore innovative solutions and best practices.

This month’s Roundtable edition focuses on the ‘FINANCING GAP FOR EDUCATION’.


All around the world, education is considered a fundamental human right. Sadly, funding amongst other factors has made education less of a right and more of a privilege. Particularly in developing economies such as Nigeria, where the financial vigor to meet the educational needs of their teeming population is lacking, thousands of children and adolescents are unable to access quality education. Thankfully through global initiatives such as the sustainable development goals, both lower and middle-income countries have recorded increased investments in the educational sector, however, more needs to be done.

Recently, a report from the United Nations Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has revealed Low-lower and middle-income countries are experiencing a significant financial deficit and need $97 billion per year to achieve their national Sustainable Development Goals Four (SDG4) education targets for 2030.

The paper entitled “Can countries afford their national SDG4 benchmarks?” developed by Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, calls for an urgent review of education financing. However, can Nigeria and other African countries with their rising debt profiles afford such funds?  

At this month’s Roundtable, stakeholders will highlight what Nigeria must do to address the financial gaps. Details are below: 

  • Date: Thursday, 11th May 2023
  • Time: 11:00am (WAT) Prompt 
  • Venue: Zoom

Register here.

See list of speakers and their profile below.

Keynote Speaker

Manos e1683564729697

Manos Antoninis

Manos Antoninis is the Director of the Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report since 2017. He was previously responsible for the monitoring section of the report. He coordinated the financing gap estimates for the 2030 education targets, the projections on the achievement of universal primary and secondary education completion, and the World Inequality Database on Education. He has been representing the report team in the Technical Cooperation Group on SDG 4 indicators, which he is currently co-chairing.

Prior to joining the team he worked for 10 years on public finance, monitoring and evaluation projects in education including: a public expenditure tracking and service delivery survey of secondary education provision in Bangladesh; the evaluation of a basic education project in the western provinces of China; the mid-term evaluation of the Education For All Fast Track Initiative; the annual reporting of progress in the implementation of the Second Primary Education Development Project in Bangladesh; a basic education capacity building programme in six states in Nigeria; the evaluation of an in-service, cluster-based teacher training programme in Pakistan; and the country study of the Out of School Children Global Initiative in Indonesia. He holds a DPhil in Economics for a study of technical education and the labour market in Egypt, completed at the Centre for the Study of African Economies of the University of Oxford.


Hakeem Subair e1683567265146

Hakeem Subair

Hakeem Subair is the CEO and Cofounder of 1 Million Teachers.

The 1 Million Teachers program is a reward-based teacher development initiative aimed at building a critical mass of highly trained educators to address the teacher deficit, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa.

He is also an adjunct professor and student advisor specializing in innovation, change management, and entrepreneurship.

Folasade Adefisayo

Folasade Adefisayo

Folasade’s main focus as the Commissioner for Education is to provide equitable education for all children in the State irrespective of socio-economic status, gender or ability. Before she was appointed a Commissioner under the Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu government in August 2019, she was the Principal Consultant/CEO of Leading Learning Limited, an educational consultancy firm that she set up.

Folasade has over 40 years of working experience spanning banking operations, organizational restructuring, human resource management, international trade and education. She retired from Corona Schools’ Trust Council in 2014 after twelve years of service firstly, as Executive Director and CEO for 8 years and subsequently as Director of Corona Secondary School, Agbara. After she started her own consulting practice, Folasade consulted for public and private schools, state governments, NGO’s and development partners. Her areas of passion and professional focus include student learning, teacher training, leadership training, school set-up and school transformation.

She is deeply concerned about the learning crisis in the Nigerian education sector and has volunteered to work with the Federal Government and various state governments in transforming public education. In 2017, she took up an appointment with the State of Osun where she managed a mega school – Osogbo Government High School. She also worked with a school management group in supporting the implementation of PPP initiative for managing public schools.

In line with her passion, Folasade has also been engaged in voluntary work with the Federal Nigeria Society for the Blind, Volunteer Corps, Bridge International Academies and various school boards.
Folasade is a Merit Award winner of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and a University Scholar of the University of Ibadan and obtained Distinctions at both the iPGCE and MA Education programmes of the University of Nottingham.

Bunmi Lawson e1683568323352

Bunmi Lawson

Ms. Bunmi Lawson is the pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of EDFIN Microfinance Bank Limited. EDFIN prides itself as the first specialized Education Microfinance Bank with unique and well researched products and services tailored to cater for the needs of its customers and the Education Ecosystem. EDFIN Microfinance Bank under the eminent leadership of Bunmi Lawson officially commenced operations in April 2019 with its registered office at Surulere Lagos State and has projections to grow into a globally recognized bank of choice for education financial solutions in Africa. Its shareholders include Gray Matters Capital, an investment company based in the USA.

Ms. Lawson holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the IESE Business School, University of Navarra and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria. She is also a Fellow of the following Institutes: Institute of Credit Administration of Nigeria, Institute of Credit & Collections Management of Nigeria and Association of Investment Advisers & Portfolio Managers of Nigeria.

She is a Board Director in the following companies: Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA), Trium Venture Capital Limited and formerly on the board of CRC credit bureau Limited; She is an Advisory Board Member of Bridge International Academies, Nigeria; Vice President, Women in Finance, Nigeria and a member of the Board Trustees Fintech Association of Nigeria.

She has attended several executive courses both locally and internationally at renowned institutions including Harvard Business School, INSEAD and the Boulder Institute for Microfinance and has successfully completed the CBN/CIBN Microfinance Certification Programme. She has presented several lectures/speeches both locally and internationally on Microfinance and other areas of capacity building for small scale industries and young entrepreneurs, SME Financing as well as been part of special workgroups on various issues for the development of the Nigerian economy.

Prior to joining EDFIN, Bunmi was the Managing Executive Director of ACCION Microfinance Bank, one of the largest Microfinance Bank in Nigeria, FATE Foundation Ltd/Gte, a leading business development service provider, a co-owner and Executive Director of VLA Lawrence & Associates, a Human Resources services organization and has over 34 years post graduate experience in finance, insurance, marketing, auditing and banking.

She is a mother with 2 lovely adult children.

Elvis Boniface

Elvis Boniface

Elvis Boniface is an Education Evangelist; an inquirer, learner and Educator passionate about changing the education narrative in Africa because he believes education is a goldmine that never runs out of gold. Learning is his lifestyle, credo and religion.

He’s the founder of Edugist, a newsroom, research centre and lab giving education a voice in Africa by providing insights and interventions through reforms, technology and innovation in education. He works at the intersection of education and technology using the media as overarching and veritable tool to change the education narrative. He is the Convener of the Nigeria Student Venture Prize, the first and only student venture prize in Nigeria that identify the talent and technology of tomorrow and empower them to take their ideas to the next level.

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