Africa-focused impact investing group Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) and the Government of Monaco have signed a partnership agreement to create the first impact fund dedicated to education in Africa. The Fund scheduled for a 2020 launch, with a grant of €1 million ($1.14 million) from the Principality, will address the challenges of access, equity, quality and adequacy of education in Africa. It will finance and support private educational institutions or companies in the educational ecosystem that produce goods, services and technologies essential to solving these challenges.
A statement by I&P notes that the schooling of the most vulnerable populations and the training of young people represent critical challenges for Africa. In many countries on the continent, millions of children are out of school, even as education systems continue to face a number of common challenges, with government not voting enough funds for the development of education sectors across Africa.
“African governments have only limited resources to solve these problems, and as a result, the private sector is increasingly seen as a complementary actor in the education sector,” says Jean-Michel Severino, President of Investisseurs & Partenaires.
Through the creation of an impact fund dedicated to education, I&P and the Government of Monaco aim to promote accessible, equitable and quality education in Africa. While 50 percent of the African population is under the age of 20, and 450 million young people are expected to enter the labour market by 2050, the fund will also aim to promote the employability of African youth by aligning university and professional training more closely with the needs of local employers.
According to I&P, several investment hypotheses are currently being examined regarding the investment sectors and criteria, the geographical scope and the financial instruments that will be used. A feasibility study is currently being carried out by the Foundation for Studies and Research on International Development (FERDI) to determine the opportunities and obstacles related to the creation of an impact vehicle dedicated to education in the African context. The study will provide a better understanding of African educational challenges and identify good practices in education that can be developed and expanded by the private sector.
According to Gilles Tonelli, Monaco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, “education is a weapon of mass construction. Without it, there can be no sustainable development. That is why Monaco invests as much as possible, especially internationally, in the education of children, and in particular girls, in order to break the cycles of poverty and ignorance.”
Philanthropist Bill Gates had in a note last year emphasized the importance of education in unlocking productivity and innovation, as well as creating opportunities and generating prosperity. He stressed that investing in education has helped several emerging economies grow. The new Fund is expected to contribute immensely to helping African economies grow.