Press Releases

IFC’s Equity Investment in First Education Holding to Expand Education in the Middle East

In Washington, D.C.:
Ludi Joseph
Phone: +1 (202) 473 7700

In Cairo, Egypt:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +20 2 461 9140

Washington, D.C./Dubai, U.A.E., January 28, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will promote the development of primary and secondary education in the Middle East and North Africa with a further $8 million equity investment in First Education Holding, a leading provider of affordable high-quality education that caters to middle- and low-income families in the region.  

IFC’s equity financing will support the acquisition of two established K-12 schools in Amman, Jordan and supplement IFC’s $14 million debt financing to the company announced in June 2009.

The project will increase access to education, improve the quality of services and facilities, implement higher standards, provide equal learning opportunities for children with special learning needs, train management and teachers, and increase employment for women.

Louay Khatib, Managing Director of First Education Holding, said, “First Education Holding is proud to deliver school improvement initiatives that enhance existing provision, especially at a time when private education at both the primary and secondary levels has become a key focus in the region.”

Guy Ellena, IFC Director for Health and Education, said, “The project will increase access to education services in underserved areas, reach lower-income households, and provide local employment opportunities for skilled professionals.”  

Michael G. Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said, “This investment gives us the opportunity to expand our support for the education sector and work with a partner who is committed to expanding high-quality education in MENA.”

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets.  Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by making loans to help meet educational demands.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $15 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit

First Education Holding
Established in 2007, First Education Holding owns and manages a chain of nurseries in Egypt (the Baby Academy) with more than 650 students and two private schools in the United Arab Emirates serving about 3,000 students and employing more than 700 staff.  The company provides strategic management support to schools, thereby optimizing the growth and quality of its education businesses. For more information, visit