In 2016, CDC led UNICAF’s Series A round and has invested a total of $8.2 million in the company.
Other investees include University Ventures, an investment firm focused on the global higher education sector, and EDEX, a Cyprus -based higher education provider.
Our investment opens up new career opportunities for tens of thousands of UNICAF’s students, through the provision of flexible, online and blended-learning degree programs. It is also accelerating the development of on-the-ground learning centres across Africa.
For African economies to achieve their potential in the 21st century it is vital that workers gain access to high-quality skill development opportunities; this includes international-standard higher education.
To achieve levels of tertiary enrolment comparable to other fast-growing emerging markets, the continent will need to build hundreds of universities in the next decade. This is unlikely to be achieved with traditional approaches, but online learning provides an opportunity to ‘leapfrog’ traditional development paths.
UNICAF is a pioneer in this space and offers a cost-effective solution – 80 per cent more affordable – that can be combined with full-time work. This ensures that access to quality higher education is not limited by geographical location, tuition fees, or lack of academic resources.
The UNICAF business model operates in some of Africa's hardest countries to reach, including Zimbabwe, Somalia and Malawi. The organisation plans to expand into Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire and Mozambique.
Our investment is also helping UNICAF create over 1,000 new jobs by building a network of learning centres across African cities.
Environmental and social aspects
CDC works with UNICAF to deliver environmental and social improvements, including supporting robust health and safety practices, as well as safeguarding.
Since 2012, we’ve only invested in Africa and South Asia. Investments outside these regions are from our pre-2012 portfolio.
We have seven priority sectors. However, we continue to invest outside these sectors, largely in the most challenging regions, as new investment supporting any sector helps to underpin the private sector, and create jobs and livelihoods for people.
- Investment type
We provide capital in three broad ways: direct equity, debt, and intermediated equity (principally through investment funds).
- Direct Equity
- Start date
For direct investments, this is the date CDC committed capital to the business or project.
For funds, this is the date that CDC committed capital to the fund.
For underlying fund investments, this is the date that the fund invested capital into the business.e
- May 2016
For direct investments, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the business or project (it may be a combination of equity and debt).
For funds, this is the total amount that CDC has committed to the fund.
This is the investee company’s place of incorporation; or a fund’s jurisdiction.