Prestigious education finance fund welcomes new public and private investors
Zurich, 20 September 2018 – BlueOrchard Finance Ltd, a leading Swiss-based impact investment manager, is pleased to announce that CDC Group, UK’s development finance institution, and OFID, the OPEC Fund for International Development, as well as renowned private investors have invested in the Regional Education Finance Fund for Africa (REFFA). The blended finance structured fund is the first fund to exclusively support the development of the education sector in Africa.
Initiated by KfW Development Bank with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), REFFA aims to provide customized financial services for the education sector and increase equal access to primary, secondary, vocational and higher education as well as enhance the quality of education.
Structured as a blended finance fund, REFFA’s capital structure consists of a junior, mezzanine and a senior tranche. The junior tranche, funded by BMZ, has been catalytic in attracting additional investors, blending public concessional capital with investments from development finance institutions (DFIs) and from private sector impact investors. CDC has committed in total USD 15 million and already invested USD 4 million in the mezzanine tranche. OFID has committed USD 5 million and already invested USD 2 million in the mezzanine tranche. Alongside CDC and OFID, BlueOrchard has invested USD 600,000 in the Fund’s mezzanine tranche. The two private investors have invested in the senior tranche, which benefits from a significant credit enhancement and risk mitigation as portfolio losses are firstly absorbed by junior and mezzanine investors.
“As many as 40% of the children at school in Africa attend private schools. Limited access to finance is a key challenge, particularly for lower-cost schools and CDC’s investment will help bridge that finance gap. By providing capital to one of the continent’s fastest growing sectors REFFA can play an important role in helping banks develop tailored products for the education sector and in helping affordable schools improve the quality of their education,” said Sara Taylor, CDC’s Director and Head of Impact Fund.
“OFID is very focused on helping its beneficiary countries make progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – the fourth of which focuses on education. We are therefore pleased to support this innovative initiative which aims to catalyze private financing to help develop human capital in Africa,” said Tareq Alnassar, OFID Assistant Director General, Private Sector and Trade Finance Operations.
“2018 is an important year for REFFA as the expansion of its shareholders across the mezzanine and senior tranches demonstrates how good quality and affordable private sector education in Africa is a priority not only for DFIs, but also for private impact investors,” said Maria Teresa Zappia, CIO of BlueOrchard.
As of 30 June 2018, REFFA has disbursed in excess of USD 25 million to 8 financial institutions in 7 countries in Western, Eastern, and Northern Africa. REFFA supports through its funding more than 700 schools and over 4,000 students. School fee loans are extended to more than 45,000 families and loans to private schools represent 49% of the Fund’s portfolio.
Furthermore, REFFA provides its investees with capacity-building through a Technical Assistance Facility (TAF), which serves the main goal of creating and enhancing institutional capacity for sustainable education finance across Africa. To achieve this, potential or existing REFFA investees will be strengthened in their capacity to develop and implement demand-oriented education loan and savings products, while pursuing economic as well as social goals. Furthermore, the TAF contributes to market intelligence for education finance and promotes innovation in this field. BlueOrchard is manager of the Fund and the TAF. For more information, please visit: www.reffa.org
About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd
BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager. The firm is dedicated to fostering inclusive and climate-smart growth, while providing attractive returns for investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the world’s first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments. Today, BlueOrchard provides investors around the world with premium investment solutions, including credit, private equity, and sustainable infrastructure. Being an expert in innovative blended finance mandates, the firm is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. With a major global presence and offices on four continents, BlueOrchard has invested to date more than USD 5bn across 80 emerging and frontier markets, enabling tangible social and environmental impact. BlueOrchard is a licensed Swiss asset manager of collective investment schemes authorized by FINMA. Its Luxembourg entity, BlueOrchard Asset Management S.A., is a licensed UCITS management company as well as a licensed alternative investment fund manager (AIFM) authorized by CSSF. For additional information, please visit: www.blueorchard.com.
About CDC Group
CDC Group plc is the UK’s development finance institution. Wholly owned by the UK Government, it invests in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia with the aim of supporting economic development to create jobs. CDC Group plc has invested in Africa since its establishment in 1948. Find out more at: www.cdcgroup.com
CDC takes a flexible approach and provides capital in all its forms, including equity, debt, mezzanine and guarantees, to meet businesses’ needs and achieve development impact. CDC has net assets of £5.1bn.
OFID is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a channel of aid to developing countries. OFID works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world. It does this by providing financing to build essential infrastructure, strengthen social services delivery and promote productivity, competitiveness and trade. OFID’s work is people-centered, focusing on projects that meet basic needs – such as food, energy, clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. OFID aims to encourage self-reliance and inspire hope for the future.
For further information, please contact:
+41 22 596 47 69