IFU Backs Affordable Universirty Education in Africa

28 Aug 2019

INCREASING UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IN AFRICA

In Africa, less than 10 per cent of young people get a university degree. This is the lowest global average and a big constraint for young Africans to improve their livelihood and for African countries to develop. By investing DKK 45mn in a new education platform the Danish SDG Investment Fund will contribute to increasing volume and quality within university education in East and West Africa.

 

The Danish SDG Investment Fund, managed by IFU, has invested DKK 45m in Africa Education Holding Ltd., which offers affordable high-quality programmes in labour market-relevant studies of e.g. medicine, business, IT, law and social sciences. Africa Education Holding owns and operates two universities; Cavendish University Uganda and Cavendish University Zambia. Going forward, the company will increase its portfolio of universities in East and West Africa, improve volume as well as quality thereby complementing public universities that can only admit around one-third of all applicants.

"Today, there is a huge lack of university seats in Africa and less than 10 per cent of young people get a university degree, which is the lowest global average. Our intention with the investment in Africa Education Holding Ltd. is to bridge the education gap and contribute to improving livelihood and stronger economic development in Africa", said Torben Huss, CEO of IFU.

The investment is made in cooperation with IFU’s sister organisations Finnfund from Finland and Proparco from France. Total investment is DKK 150mn.

"The new capital from the European development finance institutions will enable us to continue enhancing the quality of academic programs and student services at our existing universities and to acquire additional universities in Africa.  The vision is to be the premier pan-African tertiary education company that provides high quality, market-relevant education, which equips students to succeed in today’s labour market. Moreover, we are committed to increasing access to high-quality education by offering scholarships and reaching students in underserved countries", said Peter Kagunye, CEO of Africa Education Holding Ltd.

Creating quality education  

In recent years, the Cavendish universities in Uganda and Zambia have been upgraded with investments in facilities as well as staff. Moreover, the number of educations has been reduced and made more labour market-relevant through public accreditation and by endorsement from e.g the domestic law and medical associations. The number of students has increased, and the two universities have doubled and quadrupled scholarships to a total of 250. In Uganda, the university has special focus on students from post-conflict areas as more than 1,100 students are from countries such as South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals     

The investment is supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, where the target is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Special focus is on target 4.3, which aims at ensuring equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including universities.

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