By the point ladies graduate from highschool, some rising markets may develop by 10%, in accordance with the Citi report


Irish Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, announced that students can now choose to use "calculated" grades or take final exams if deemed safe.

Getty Images

Investing in the education of young girls is not only of paramount importance from a social point of view – it also has major economic consequences. According to new research from Citi Global Insights and Plan International, emerging economies can grow their GDP by an average of 10% if 100% of girls complete secondary school by 2030.

The 10% increase in GDP would include the cost, which Citi says is only $ 1.53 per day per girl. In the long run, the economic impact is far greater due to the ripple effect between families and local communities.

Citi's finding that $ 1.53 per day per girl could make a meaningful difference is based on analysis from eight countries: Ghana, Uganda, Mali, El Salvador, Bolivia, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic and Egypt.

The economic benefits of greater equality for women in the workforce are well known, but the role of adolescent girls is often overlooked. Part of this is due to poor data collection. And when data is collected, it is often evaluated from an industry perspective – for example, the impact of investing in equitable education or health care.

However, Citi said that in order to achieve higher graduation rates for young women and better prospects across the board, a more holistic approach must be taken that addresses the many challenges young women face, including forced marriage and restrictive laws.

The company stressed that health, education, violence and economic independence are interrelated, which means they cannot be addressed separately. Given the scope of this multi-faceted approach, Citi believes that collaboration between governments, NGOs, the private sector and philanthropic institutions is necessary.

"When stakeholders work in silos, there will still be change – but it will be done at a higher cost, with less impact, and over a longer period of time. There is no time to waste," the report said. "Investing in girls should be a priority in all economies, not only because it is the right thing to do, but also because it produces unprecedented returns and impacts across society and generations," the bank added.

More than 130 million girls around the world do not go to school, 85% of girls in low-income countries do not receive secondary education, according to UNESCO. These numbers are from before the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and are expected to increase after Covid-19. UNESCO estimates that more than 11 million girls may not return to school after the pandemic.

'The economic benefits cannot be achieved with the push of a button, but take time to build as successive cohorts of educated girls leave school and enter the world of work Girls and economies up and down bring stronger trajectory, "the report said.

– CNBC's Michael Bloom contributed to the coverage.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis as well as live business day programs from around the world.


Katherine Clark