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by Credit Suisse

Education and the multiplier effect

The complexity and magnitude of problems currently faced by governments and individuals have few historical precedents. Our planet is under huge environmental pressure; wealth inequality is worsening, and workers face ever stiffer competition – increasingly from computers with deep artificial intelligence. These problems are interlinked, and education is pivotal to resolving them.

Credit Suisse has witnessed the life-changing impact of education on individuals, communities and societies.

At the current rate of progress, in 2030 there will be more than 800 million children and young people lacking the basic skills or qualifications for the modern workforce. To meet the UN’s fourth Sustainable Development Goal (SDG4) of ensuring universal primary and secondary education by 2030 – and fill an annual funding shortfall of $26bn – will require a radical response.

Get it right and it’s impossible to overstate the potential impact. If the world was to achieve universal upper-secondary education by 2030 it would bring forward the goal of eliminating poverty by 10 years. If all women in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) completed secondary education, the mortality rate for children under five would fall by nearly half – a saving of three million lives annually.

The Value of Knowledge is not academic but profound.

“A lot of problems in life are education problems in disguise” — Tidjane Thiam, CEO, Credit Suisse

A new degree of openness

Over many years working with philanthropists, not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, it’s become clear that a rounded, rather than a siloed approach will shape the answers. This will require both education practitioners and investors to think and invest differently, and to communicate with each other with a new degree of openness.

“Education plays a key role in building sustainable and resilient societies,” asserts Michael Ward, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD. “Education is the foundation to achieve all the other SDGs.”

Leading not-for-profits have provided a framework for engagement, measuring success and achieving impact at scale in education. With the Value of Knowledge program, we want to build on that deep experience.

Read more - Part one - The multiplier effect
Read more - Part two - A call for collective creativity

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FT The Value of Knowledge

FT Channels, a partnership destination that combines impactful and enriching multimedia content to spark curiosity and encourage discovery. Each vertical brings expert insights from the Financial Times and our Partners into the most pressing issues of our time.


The Value of Knowledge is a Financial Times multimedia series on how to meet the world’s changing knowledge needs. It explores the skills, education and investment strategies that will prove critical to global sustainable growth. With reporting from specialist FT journalists and the insights of leading learning experts, the series also includes original research from Credit Suisse on the ‘multiplier’ effect of education and the role impact investing can play.