EIB President Werner Hoyer’s speech at the United Nations Transforming Education Summit on 19 September 2022.

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Ladies and gentlemen,

Since this is a session about education, let me tell you about the one thing I learned myself over the years…: if there are limits to human ingenuity, we are nowhere near reaching them. During my experience at the European Investment Bank, I have seen this ingenuity being applied to quantum computing, giant, floating wind farms, breakthrough technologies in vaccine development, and the solutions to deploy production everywhere in the world.  

The key enabler for these miracles was education. That’s what unleashed the potential of human spirit.

That’s what allowed the sons and daughters of migrants become pioneer scientists.

That’s the ladder upon which kids of modest backgrounds climbed to solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges.

That’s the path that led nations out of extreme poverty, the great equalizer that can narrow the gap between developed economies and the Global South.

These are not just words. At the EIB, we put our money where our mouth is.

We are one of the biggest lenders of the education sector in the world, having committed more than 50 billion US dollars this century to schools, universities and research centres.

We do this by crowding-in the private sector. In 2018, we launched a first Sustainability Awareness Bond or SAB in the capital markets, a unique type of bonds that finances projects that have a substantial social and environmental impact, beyond tackling climate change. Last year 14% of allocations from these bonds were to education projects. The positive development of this programme is witnessed by our USD 4 billion SAB issuance a few weeks ago.

This is not simply about financing the infrastructure! Improving access to equitable and inclusive education is one of the key eligibilities and priorities of these bonds.

Of course, more needs to be done. Investment in education is lagging behind, globally. Education is evolving, rapidly. And spending is spread unequally.

Every year, of the 4.7 trillion US dollars spent on education worldwide, only 0.5% is spent in low-income countries, while 65% is spent in high-income countries.

The pandemic and the current shocks to the global economy have unfortunately only intensified the inequalities of access to education.

With the launch of EIB Global this year, we signal our commitment to do more, beyond the shores of Europe to improve the situation, especially in light of the challenge of digitalization.

Multilateral Development Banks have the responsibility of turning education into one global development priority, of increasing international financing for the sector through both traditional and more innovative financial instruments.

I am here to tell you today that we are planning to live up to this responsibility.

Thank you very much!