IFC Invests in Merryland Schools to Support Secondary Education in Uganda
IFC has announced an investment of $4.1 million in Merryland High Schools to expand access to secondary education in Uganda. The loan will enable Merryland to enroll an additional 2,500 students in Uganda, where demand for education exceeds the number of school places available. The expansion also intends to meet educational needs not being met today in neighboring conflict-affected states, rural Uganda, and for young women.
The World Bank Group estimates that over 50 million children are out of school in sub Saharan Africa. For governments on the continent to achieve ‘education for all’ by 2030, additional capacity will need to be created for 127 million students. Private sector providers like Merryland play an important role in helping governments bridge this gap.
Merryland operates two boarding campuses in Entebbe, attended by 3,500 students, of whom 34% are from rural Uganda. The new investment will be used towards expanding the academic and boarding facilities. Alongside the academic curriculum, Merryland students are also trained in income-generating skills such as agriculture, arts, nutrition, information and technology.
With scholarship schemes with low-income families, Merryland provides an opportunity for students from fragile situations such as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where quality education options are even more limited than in Uganda.
According to Dr. Dalton Ssegawa, Director Merryland High Schools, “With 56% of Uganda’s population currently under the age of eighteen, it has become imperative that educational institutions invest in training students to be highly skilled in the technical & entrepreneurial aspects if they are to make any meaningful contribution to the nation. Investments such as these, however, remain a challenge with limited access to development financing.”
Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa said “Africa urgently needs a well-educated and trained work force to meet the demands of rapidly growing economies. Families from Uganda’s rural and urban areas, young women, and students from conflict affected states have too few options, and Merryland is able to fill that gap now. IFC wants to help Merryland expand its reach to middle and low-income families.”
IFC is the largest multilateral investor in private education in emerging markets. Over the past 15 years, IFC has invested $1.3 billion in education projects in 33 countries. In fiscal year 2014, IFC’s investments improved quality of education for over 100,000 students in sub Saharan Africa. Alongside investing in private institutions, IFC also supports providers of student finance.