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GroFin becomes latest signatory to IFC Impact Principles

15 December 2020. Bambous, Mauritius. GroFin is proud to further its commitment to global best practice in managing investments that generate impact by becoming a signatory of the Operating Principles for Impact Management. IFC led the development of and launched the Impact Principles in April 2019 to provide a global standard and reference point for assessing the impact management systems of investment funds and institutions. The Principles provide a framework for investors to ensure that impact considerations are purposefully integrated throughout the investment life cycle and aim to bring greater rigour and transparency to the impact investing market. As a signatory, GroFin would be required to produce annual disclosure statements describing how each Principle is incorporated into its investment process and to carry out independent verification of its impact management and measurement system.

Brienne van der Walt, CEO of GroFin, says becoming a signatory is a milestone that publicly demonstrates and reinforces the company’s disciplined approach to achieving, measuring, and reporting on impact.

“GroFin was founded to be an agent of impact and recording how our investments improve lives and communities has always been an integral part of who we are and the commitment we make to our investors. We have continuously sought to improve our impact measurement and management framework and to ensure that we adhere to international best practice. We view this as another important step on that journey.” – Brienne van der Walt, GroFin CEO

Roubesh Jhumun, GroFin’s Impact & ESG Manager, says adhering to the Impact Principles further exemplifies GroFin’s engagement to establish a robust impact management system and provide greater transparency on our ability – and that of our investors and partners – to generate long-lasting positive impact in the communities where our investees operate.

“GroFin is excited to become part of a global community of impact investors joining hands to share insights and learn from one another as we continuously push the frontiers of impact measurement and management practice. As part of this community, GroFin can also contribute to the further development of the impact investment industry which continues to grow and mature.” – Roubesh Jhumun, GroFin Impact & ESG Manager

According to the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), the size of the global impact investment industry is estimated to be around $715 billion. The GIIN says the industry continues to show steady growth, while impact measurement and management practices have noticeably evolved over the past decade to become sophisticated and rigorous.

About GroFin

GroFin is a specialist, impact-driven SME financier. We help entrepreneurs succeed by providing them with expert advice, continuous guidance, and financing to grow their businesses. We believe that growing a small business sector that can create sustainable jobs is the most powerful driver of social and economic development that truly improves people’s lives.

Since its inception in 2003, GroFin has invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained nearly 90 000 jobs. Headquartered in Mauritius, we offer financing and support to SMEs in 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East. GroFin is supported by 34 international finance institutions, development organisations, and private funders who have committed nearly $510 million in capital & grants to our funds.

GroFin launches COVID-19 SME Support Fund in Northern Iraq

GroFin, with the support of USAID through a gift from the American people, is extending $1.5 million in financing to help small businesses in Northern Iraq overcome the crippling impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ashraf Esmael, GroFin Chief Investment Officer: Middle East, says the pandemic has placed economies under immense pressure and has hit SMEs especially hard.

“The sudden halt in trading caused by strict lockdown measures has left many small businesses in Iraq’s Nineveh governorate struggling to cover their expenses. We are providing them with the working capital they need to survive and to preserve jobs and livelihoods.” – Ashraf Esmael, GroFin Chief Investment Officer: Middle East

The Fund offers loans of between $10,000 and $100,000 to existing businesses. The loan tenor is between 12 and 48 months, where the first 12 months is interest-free and a concessionary interest rate of 5% is levied for the remaining term.

Esmael says GroFin has moved quickly to adapt its existing programme in Northern Iraq to respond to the urgent financing need created by the COVID-19 crisis. In 2019, GroFin launched Northern Iraq Investments (NII) to help rebuild the local SME sector after the severe damage inflicted on the region’s infrastructure and economy when it was invaded by ISIS.

“Our work in Northern Iraq has shown us that access to financing is a major obstacle for local entrepreneurs who are trying to rebuild their businesses in a very difficult environment. We knew that we had to adapt our approach in the wake of COVID-19 for NII to fulfill its goal to help grow sustainable small businesses that create jobs,” Esmael explains.

USAID has committed a total of $7.5 million to NII to support business activities and SMEs in Northern Iraq as part of its Middle East and North Africa Investment Initiative. This amount includes the $1.5 million set aside for the COVID-19 SME Support Fund.

“USAID is happy to support Northern Iraq businesses recover from the economic shock caused by this pandemic,” says USAID Mission Director Dana Mansuri.

“This flexible small business loan program is another example of the longstanding U.S. commitment to the people of Iraq. Small businesses are an important driver of growth and recovery, and thus, our ongoing support to private enterprise and entrepreneurship in Iraq is important in helping Iraqis grow, prosper, and build their futures,” Mansuri concludes. GroFin has been operating in Iraq since 2013 and its funds have already invested $7.5 million in SMEs in the country, helping these businesses to sustain 658 jobs. Its staff in Iraq have also provided technical assistance to over 100 Iraqi entrepreneurs, assisting them in setting up and formalising their businesses to contribute to economic growth and stability. GroFin Iraq currently has offices in both Basra and Erbil, with plans to open a third in Baghdad.

About GroFin

GroFin is a specialist, impact-driven SME financier. We help entrepreneurs succeed by providing them expert advice, continuous guidance, and financing to grow their businesses. We believe that growing small businesses to create sustainable jobs is the most powerful driver of social and economic development that truly improves people’s lives.

Since its inception in 2004, GroFin has invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained nearly 90 000 jobs. Headquartered in Mauritius, we offer financing and support to SMEs in 14 countries in Africa and the Middle East. GroFin is supported by 34 international finance institutions, development organisations, and private funders who have committed nearly $535 million in capital & grants to our funds.

GroFin receives high accolade at Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Awards

GroFin Nigeria won the Outstanding Healthcare Project-Friendly Financial Institution of the Year Award at the Nigerian Healthcare Excellence Awards (NHEA) 2019.

The award recognises banks and financial institutions that have created an inclusive innovative financing model for healthcare entrepreneurs or healthcare SMEs across the value chain. NHEA is an initiative of Global Health Project and Resources in Partnership with Anadach group and celebrates organisations who have contributed immensely to the growth of the Nigerian healthcare sector.

Felix Ezeh, Investment Executive at GroFin Nigeria, felt honoured that GroFin was recognised for this prestigious award:

“By this award, the public that voted for GroFin made a statement that they are appreciative of the work we are doing.  We heard them.  Our promise to them is that this award will only spur us to do more.”

NHEA’s recognition aims to stimulate quality improvement and innovation in the Nigerian health sector leading to improved service delivery & management of key health issues and the capacity of individuals to influence and set new performance standards in Nigeria & beyond.

GroFin’s unique model of combining finance and business support helps healthcare entrepreneurs and SMEs overcome challenges and improves their ability to manage the complexity of a growing business. GroFin has dedicated healthcare investment and business support expertise, both through its in-house healthcare “industry experts” and through formal partnerships with specialist healthcare partners like Medical Credit Fund (MCF).

GroFin’s healthcare portfolio in Africa and the Middle East consists of investments made in 41 SMEs, representing a total investment of US$ 16M, across the value chain of businesses in the healthcare industry including hospitals, clinics, dental facilities, maternal care and pharmaceutical outlets. Business support offered by GroFin includes a business planning framework, quality management systems, cash flow advice, medical waste management systems as well as operations and management expertise. And through its investments, GroFin has over 277,280 patients able to obtain medical care services annually and has helped sustain a total of 3,950 healthcare related jobs.

The NHEA 2019 brought further good news as a GroFin Nigeria exited client Healthplus Limited won Retailer of the Year Award, further helping to cement GroFin’s impact in the health sector of Nigeria.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. We combine medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support delivered through our local offices, we have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the 15 countries in Africa and Middle East that we operate in. GroFin has its headquarters located in Mauritius.

Media enquiries: Felix Ezeh, felix@grofin.com

GroFin Ghana honored at 14th Ghana-Africa Business Awards

GroFin won its second Gold Award in the Financial Services (SME Development) category Ghana-Africa Business Awards. GroFin has been operating in Ghana since 2010 and previously received the same award in 2015.

GroFin received both awards in recognition of its outstanding contribution to the development of Ghana, within the context of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). GroFin has invested over $30 million (USD) in 66 small and medium-sized businesses in the country. This investment allowed these businesses to sustain 3,224 jobs and to create 411 new direct jobs.  The Ghana-Africa Business Awards, now in their 14th year, are organised under the auspices of the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

Samuel Sedegah, Investment Executive at GroFin Ghana, says the company is honored by this acknowledgment of its efforts to develop small and medium-sized businesses in the country.

“SMEs are a key driver of job creation and economic growth in developing economies, and already contribute over 70% of Ghana’s GDP. However, the potential of many of these businesses remains constrained by a lack of access to finance.”

Indeed, according to the latest World Bank Enterprise Survey, 49% of Ghanaian firms cite access to finance as their greatest obstacle. Sedegah explains that GroFin not only provides entrepreneurs with appropriate financing, but also with continuous business support to grow, and ensure their success.

“SMEs are prone to very high failure rates. GroFin helps entrepreneurs to overcome this by offering a combination of finance and expert advice and business support that improves their ability to manage the complexity of a growing business.”

GroFin’s 2015 Ghana-Africa Business Awards was also in the GOLD category, after the organizer’s held consultations with the Ghana Export Promotion Center, Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Ghana Free Zones Board and Ghana Tourism Authority.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. We combine medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support delivered through our local offices, we have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the 15 countries in Africa and Middle East that we operate in. GroFin has its headquarters located in Mauritius.

Media enquiries: Samuel Sedegah, samuels@grofin.com

GroFin honoured in Global SME Finance Awards

GroFin’s innovative SME development model of combining access to finance, business support and market-linkages has received further recognition through an Honourable Mention at this year’s Global SME Finance Awards.

The GroFin Small and Growing Businesses Fund (“SGB Fund”) recently received this accolade in the “Product Innovation of the Year” category. The Global SME Finance Awards recognize outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies, in delivering exceptional products and services to their SME clients and are endorsed by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI).

GroFin receives Honorable Mention at Global SME Finance Awards 2018

Guido Boysen, CEO, says GroFin is honoured by this recognition which affirms the merit of its approach to developing small and medium-sized businesses.

“GroFin has demonstrated how the typically very high fail rate among SMEs can be mitigated and through a model that is scalable. This means that GroFin’s approach can be replicated to make an even greater contribution to the development of emerging economies.”

Finance provided through the SGB Fund, coupled with business support interventions, have ensured that the SGB Fund has a viability rate of 86%, compared to a failure rate of 70- 90% for SMEs in emerging economies.

Guido Boysen says the SGB Fund is also regarded as innovative in its design to not only achieve socio-economic impact objectives, but also to generate sustainable returns for its investors.

“The ability to generate financial returns attracts investors and greatly strengthens the sustainability of the fund. This is crucial to any developmental project or fund which hopes to make a lasting impact.”

Earlier this year GroFin won the ICAEW and A4S Finance for the Future Awards, in the Building Sustainable Financial Products category, as well as the 2018 Islamic Economy Award in the ‘SME Development’ category.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. We combine medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support delivered through our local offices, we have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the 15 countries in Africa and Middle East that we operate in. GroFin has its headquarters located in Mauritius.

About the GroFin Small and Growing Businesses Fund (“SGB Fund”)

Established in 2014 and based on GroFin’s then decade-long experience in supporting entrepreneurs across emerging economies in Africa, the GroFin Small and Growing Businesses Fund (“SGB Fund”) focuses on SGBs that are typically neglected by traditional financiers and even conventional SME funds – the SME “missing middle” segment.

The Fund’s unique model integrates access to finance, business development skills and market linkages to ensure job creation at scale and facilitates the provision of vital services to low income households. It focuses on high impact sectors including education, healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing and key services and further envelop women and youth as beneficiaries of its model.

GroFin wins Islamic Economy Awards 2018 in SME Development category

GroFin is pleased to announce that it has won the 2018 Islamic Economy Award in the ‘SME Development’ category. The winners were announced at the Awards ceremony held in Dubai this Wednesday 30 October 2018.

The Islamic Economy Award was launched in 2013 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and directed by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.

The Islamic Economy Award is managed independently by Thomson Reuters and is adjudicated by an esteemed judges’ panel based on formal, established criteria.

GroFin was represented by its Regional Investment Director for the Middle East and North Africa region, Mohamed Hawary, who collected the award on behalf of the company.

“This award is testimony to the efforts made by GroFin to ensure its products are accessible to one and all. We, at GroFin, are determined to provide our clients with financing that respects the customs and beliefs of our clients,” says Mohamed Hawary.

GroFin wins 2018 Islamic Economy Awards in the category of 'SME Development'

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, presents award to Mohamed Hawary, GroFin Regional Investment Director for the Middle East and North Africa region

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, presents award to Mohamed Hawary, GroFin Regional Investment Director for the Middle East and North Africa region

The Islamic Economy Award is held every year and has the following categories; Money and Finance, Media, Food and Health, Waqf and Endowments, SME Development, Islamic Economy Knowledge Infrastructure, Islamic Arts, Hospitality and Tourism, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

This is the second prestigious award for GroFin this year as it also won Finance for the Future Awards in the Building Sustainable Financial Products category. Finance for the Future Awards is run by ICAEW and A4S along with their partner Deloitte.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. We combine medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support delivered through our local offices, we have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the 15 countries in Africa and Middle East that we operate in. GroFin has its headquarters located in Mauritius.

GroFin wins its category at the 2018 Finance for the Future Awards

GroFin is pleased to announce that it is the winner of the Finance for the Future Awards, in the Building Sustainable Financial Products category.

Finance for the Future Awards is run by ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales) and A4S (The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project) along with their partner Deloitte. The prestigious awards saw nominees, in the different categories, such as HSBC (UK), Coca Cola and Standard Bank Group amongst others.

With the Building Sustainable Financial Products category, the nominees competing with GroFin were the highly-recognised and highly-respected nominees, namely, Abundance Investment (UK), Environmental Finance (UK), QBE (Australia) and Yes Bank (India).

The award ceremony took place in London on the 16th of October and GroFin was represented by its CFO William Morkel who collected the award on behalf of the company.

“I would like to dedicate this award to our employees, as well as our clients and investors. It is testimony to the collective effort we undertake here at GroFin to bring about positive social and financial impact in the lives of the people we serve,” says Guido Boysen, GroFin CEO.

GroFin wins 2018 Finance for the Future Awards

Finance for the Future Awards is held every year and has six categories namely; Embedding an integrated approach, Innovative project, Communicating integrated thinking, Investing and financing, Building sustainable financial products and Driving change through education, training and academia.

About GroFin

GroFin is a pioneering private development financial institution specialising in financing and supporting small and growing businesses (SGBs) across Africa and the Middle East. We combine medium term loan capital and specialised business support to grow SGBs in emerging markets. By successfully combining medium term loans and specialised business support delivered through our local offices, we have invested in over 700 SMEs and sustained over 88,150 jobs across a wide spectrum of business activities within the 15 countries in Africa and Middle East that we operate in. GroFin has its headquarters located in Mauritius.

Media enquiries:

Sharmila Kowlessur (Chief Marketing Officer – GroFin) on +230 452 9156 , or email sharmila@grofin.com

Notes to editors:

ICAEW connects over 147,000 chartered accountants worldwide, providing this community of professionals with the power to build and sustain strong economies.

Training, developing and supporting accountants throughout their career, we ensure that they have the expertise and values to meet the needs of tomorrow’s businesses.

Our profession is right at the heart of the decisions that will define the future, and we contribute by sharing our knowledge, insight and capabilities with others. That way, we can be sure that we are building robust, accountable and fair economies across the globe.

ICAEW is a member of Chartered Accountants Worldwide (CAW), which brings together 11 chartered accountancy bodies, representing over 1.6m members and students globally.

The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S)

The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S) was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2004. Our aim is to make sustainable decision making business as usual.

We work with the finance and accounting community to:

  • Inspire finance leaders to adopt sustainable and resilient business models
  • Transform financial decision making to enable an integrated approach, reflective of the opportunities and risks posed by environmental and social issues
  • Scale up action across the global finance and accounting community

A4S has three global networks: the Chief Financial Officers Leadership Network, a group of CFOs from leading organizations seeking to transform finance and accounting; the Accounting Bodies Network whose members comprise approximately two thirds of the world’s accountants; and, the Asset Owners Network which brings together Pension Fund Chairs to integrate sustainability into investment.

www.accountingforsustainability.org

Deloitte

In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity. Please see deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NWE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK’s leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

For more information, please visit www.deloitte.co.uk.

Impact investing comes of age, set to revolutionize the investment world

As impact investing comes of age, to quote the Economist, it is time to take a look at the largest survey of the Impact Investment landscape, and see how this nascent industry is fast becoming a mainstream phenomenon.

A decade into the creation of a formal impact investing industry, the Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) continues to dig deep into the data generated by the now multiple players —including fund managers, institutional investors, and foundations, as well as field-building organisations, advisors, and others in the impact investing ecosystem— and explore important issues about the market’s development. These investment insights serve to assess the progress the impact industry has made, and identify what is needed to exponentially enhance its scale and effectiveness over the next ten years.

The GIIN’s Annual Impact Investor 2017 Survey is as definitive as it is comprehensive – taking into account the consolidated responses of 209 members of the impact investment world who together manage USD 114 billion in impact investing assets. Factoring in the responses from this broad sample base, the seventh Annual Impact Investor Survey by GIIN found that investors plan to commit USD 25.9 billion in assets to impact investment deals this year, a 17% increase from a year ago. What is most encouraging though is that investors continue to be overwhelmingly satisfied with the performance of their investments – both in terms of their financial return and the impactthey generate. Indeed, 98% respondents reported that the returns met or exceeded their expectations in terms of impact, and 91% reported that this was the case in terms of performance.

Moreover, as the impact investing industry matures, the GIIN notes that impact measurement has grown increasingly nuanced and sophisticated. In the past year alone, there has been a significant increase in in-depth research and data on impact measurement and management and growing collaboration among different players. An indicator of growing maturity, the industry has begun to shift focus from the “why” to the “how” of impact measurement and management, with several recent studies exploring different methodological aspects. Some noteworthy studies are the Tideline’s Navigating Impact Investing publication, GIIN’s The Business Value of Impact Measurement, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Situating the Next Generation of Impact Measurement and Evaluation for Impact Investing and the Bridges Impact+ and Skopos Impact Fund’s More than Measurement.

Further, multi-party data projects such as the World Economic Forum’s Shaping the Future of Impact Investing initiative, the OECD’s multi-participant study, the GIIN’s Navigating Impact initiative, the Impact Measurement Project and the Fourth Sector Mapping Initiative are all indicative of a shift toward increasingly collaborative effortswithin the industry around impact measurement and management.

Finally, three big takeaways from this year’s report were that, first, the impact investment space is broad enough to allow for a range of impact objectives and financial return targets; secondly, large firms are entering this field, but must conform to the high standards set by the existing, niche players, and lastly, the Sustainable Development Goals are influencing both impact objectives and their measurement in a big way. Most significantly, while the entry of large firms is an exciting development as it points to the mainstreaming of impact investing, this phenomenon calls for a wait-and-watch approach as there is a risk of ‘impact dilution’ or mission drift. While large-scale firms will help professionalise and bring credibility to the market, as well as bring in much-needed capital, they may not be as intentional about generating impact, may prioritise returns over impact, or may not sustain their commitment to impact for the long term. Existing, niche players then have the overriding responsibility of ensuring that the impact investment landscape continues to deliver on its promise of socio-economic returns beyond mere financial profits.

As one of the respondents selected to form part of this noteworthy initiative, GroFin is proud to represent the impact investment space in Africa and MENA, and bring its experience and expertise to bear on this comprehensive survey of the impact investing industry. A pioneering impact investor whose fund management capabilities have lent support to over 8,000 entrepreneurs and transformed more than 600 SMEs, GroFin has been active in this nascent industry for the last 13 years.

Indeed, GroFin co-developed a unique Small and Growing Businesses (SGB) model together with the Shell Foundation, that has been successfully applied since 2004 to generate employment at scale and benefit multiple lives at the base of the pyramid. With 95,130 jobs sustained and 480,000 family members supported through its investments as at close of December 2016, GroFin has won CFI.co’s Best Social Impact Finance Africa award for 2017, proving the effectiveness of its model and its application to the SME space in emerging markets.

With its pioneering and award winning model, GroFin has the potential to create exponential impact and uplift entire communities. We invite you to be a part of this far-reaching and impactful movement, whether as an entrepreneur making a difference to the lives of their community, or an investor seeking a reward beyond just financial returns from emerging market investments. If we all come together, impact investing will indeed come of age.

Impact Investing & Education–Learning to make a difference in Africa

Africa’s education story is waiting to be written, but whether it will be written by Africa’s children is a pressing question that haunts the emerging continent.

Consider this – Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) still has 30 million children out of school, and tertiary education is suffering from severe capacity constraints. SSA is also the worst-performing region globally for educational quality and learning outcomes, with up to 40% of children not meeting basic learning outcomes in literacy and numeracy. Moreover, by 2035, the number of Africans joining the workforce (15–64) will exceed that of the rest of the world combined, but SSA’s education systems are not meeting workforce needs.

Sounds like a challenge for any government? It certainly is, and one that no government can possibly rise to. A report highlighting the key role that the private sector is poised to play in Africa’s education landscape then comes as a fitting response to this challenge, replete with a powerful foreword by Liberia’s President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

This definitive report by Caerus Capital is aptly titled “The Business of Education in Africa”, focusing as it does on the contribution of the private sector and on how government can act as the steward of the whole education system.

“The Business of Education in Africa” paints the current landscape of private education in Sub-Saharan Africa, goes on to discuss how African governments can better engage with private education players, highlights opportunities for investing in private education in SSA and delves deep into case studies of interesting companies in education in SSA. It ends with case studies of the education market in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Senegal & Liberia that may well be some of the most comprehensive insights into the education markets of these key African economies as on date.

While Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 mandates that governments have and must continue to commit to access to a free, quality education for children, statistics highlight that around one billion African children will need to be educated over the coming three decades. Keeping pace with this demand requires enormous investment in schools, universities, and other infrastructure; recruitment and training of teachers, school leaders, and support staff; and learning materials. Public education systems will struggle to keep up with this unprecedented increase in demand.

Private sector education is then key to unlock the potential of this vital sector, and meet the rising tide of demand that otherwise threatens to engulf the continent’s children in a sea of darkness.

The report notes that the private sector is already playing a significant role in SSA. While publicly reported data compiled by UNESCO indicates that the private sector has a share of 13.5% in the education sector across 15 countries, the report’s own surveys indicate that the actual share of private schooling might be 21% (or one in five pupils), and this number is only set to rise (to one in four) over the next five years.

However, this enormous opportunity comes with the significant challenge of financing private players in education, with the report identifying a private investment requirement of US$16–$18 billion over the next five years.

The report highlights that education makes for a compelling investment opportunity because it delivers wider benefits in the form of high individual, social, and economic returns, and investors & donors are consequently willing to secure lower financial returns, or even a purely social return on investment.

Impact investing that focuses on social returns over purely financial returns then comes to mind as a lasting solution to the financing woes of private sector schools. While impact investing is a nascent field and impact investors in Africa are few and far between, some stories of positive change in local communities are already being written.

Be it Kenya’s Nairobi International SchoolTanzania’s Daystar SchoolRwanda’s Highland SchoolGhana’s Firm Foundation or South Africa’s Zambesi Akademie, these small businesses hailing from across the African education landscape have one strong link that binds them all — GroFin.