According to UNESCO, only 10 per cent of young people in Sub-Saharan Africa gain access to vocational training or a university education, and two thirds of the applicants for public universities are rejected.
The low acceptance rate has a negative effect on the economic development, and the limited capacity prevents many young Africans from improving their livelihood.
Against this background, IFU, through the Danish SDG Investment Fund, has invested in an education platform, which currently operates two universities in Zambia and Uganda, respectively, and will invest in and develop several universities in Africa.
“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”
Torben Huss, CEO of IFU.
Creating quality education
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.
In recent years, the Cavendish universities in Uganda and Zambia have been upgraded through 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 one third of the students are from South Sudan and almost one tenth from DR Congo.
Investment of close to DKK 50m
The investment by the Danish SDG Investment fund is made in cooperation with IFU’s sister organisations Finnfund from Finland and Proparco from France. Total investment is DKK 150m, of which the SDG Fund has invested DKK 47m.
“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. Moreover, we are committed to increasing access to high quality education by offering scholarships and reaching students in underserved countries.”
Peter Kagunye, CEO of Africa Education Holding Ltd.