Nairobi, Kenya January 21, 2014—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, will invest $10 million in equity to
support the expansion of Bridge International Academies, a provider of
high-quality primary and pre-primary education for children from poor families.
CDC, the UK’s development finance institution, will invest $6 million
in equity alongside IFC. The funding will support the company’s plans
to expand to more countries in Africa, where Bridge presently operates,
as well as in India. While Bridge already educates 80,000 children,
the organization’s mission is to reach ten million over the next decade.
Bridge International Academies, founded in 2008, now operates over 250
schools in Kenya teaching the national curriculum, serving pupils from
families who live on less than $2 per day per person. Bridge has
established a new model for delivering quality education, leveraging data,
technology, and scale to standardize everything from content development
and teacher training to academy construction and billing. Teachers use
computer tablets to deliver dynamic, scripted lessons prepared by a world
class content team. The tablets also track lesson pacing, lesson completion,
and assessment scores, which are used to adjust and improve future lesson
materials, and guide continuous professional development for teachers.
This standardized approach enables Bridge International Academies to deliver
affordable education, charging an average of just over $6 per month in
fees. This makes it possible for poor families to send all of their children—girls
and boys—to a quality school and for each academy to be self-sustaining.
Independent testing shows that Bridge pupils consistently outperform
students at public and other low-cost private schools by wide margins in
reading and math. Bridge International Academies presently offers three
years of early childhood education, and seven years of primary education
(Classes 1-7). Class 8 will be added in 2015.
The company directly employs over 3,000 people, with all the teachers living
in the communities where they work. Indirectly, Bridge provides work for
thousands more in construction, supplies, distribution and water.
“All children, regardless of family income, deserve a chance to get the
education they need to improve their lives and contribute to society. All
parents deserve the opportunity to see their children succeed,” said Shannon
May, Co-founder and Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Bridge International
Academies. “We look forward to placing tens of thousands of low-income
children into top public secondary schools where they will continue to
“High-quality, affordable education has the potential to expand access
to education for the poor in developing countries, and transform the lives
of children living in poverty,” said IFC Executive Vice President and
CEO Jin-Yong Cai.
“As well as having the potential to transform education for children from
low-income families, Bridge is already a large employer in Kenya, particularly
amongst 24 – 35 year olds who were previously unemployed. The investment
will support the company to create almost 10,000 new jobs, both in Kenya
and in other developing countries,” said Dolika Banda, CDC’s Regional
Director for Africa.
IFC is the largest multilateral investor in private education in emerging
markets. We invest with the objectives of improving access, lowering costs
and helping students prepare for employment. IFC’s education portfolio
stands at $651 million, encompassing over 60 projects in 24 countries,
including several of the world’s poorest. In 2013, IFC’s private
education projects helped benefit over 1 million students while providing
employment for over 50,000 people.
About Bridge International Academies
Bridge International Academies is the world’s largest chain of pre-primary
and primary schools, working tirelessly to bring world-class education
to the poorest of the poor, democratizing the right to succeed. Bridge
International Academies’ vertically integrated Academy-in-a-Box approach
has reengineered the entire lifecycle of basic education, leveraging data,
technology, and scale in order to keep quality up and prices a low as $6
a month (on average). The company’s mission is Knowledge for all.
As of January 2014, only 5 years into its operation, Bridge already
operates over 250 academies in Kenya educating 80,000 pupils, and is on
track to hit its vision of educating 10,000,000 pupils in over a dozen
countries by 2025. Latest testing shows that Bridge pupils score
an average of 35% higher on core reading skills and 19% higher in math
than their peers in neighboring schools!
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private
enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise,
and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion,
leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the
world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit
CDC is the UK government-owned development finance institution that uses
its own balance sheet to invest in the developing countries of Africa and
South Asia. It has net assets of £2.8bn. CDC’s mission is to support the
building of businesses in Africa and South Asia, creating jobs and making
a lasting difference to people’s lives in some of the world’s poorest
places. Under its strategy, announced in September 2012, CDC provides debt
and direct investment to businesses as well as acting as a fund-of-funds
investor. CDC also now only makes new investment commitments in Africa
and South Asia.