IFC Partners with Grupo Ser Educacional to Bring Quality Higher Education to Northeast Brazil
Washington, D.C. June 29, 2010— IFC is partnering with Brazil’s Grupo Ser Educacional—a leading post-secondary education company in the country’s northeast—to bring quality education to underserved areas.
Grupo Ser Educacional—which provides undergraduate, graduate, and technical education to mid- and lower-income students in Northeastern Brazil—operates several campuses under the brand names of Faculdade Maurício de Nassau and Faculdade Joaquim Nabuco.
Compared to other countries in the region, fewer Brazilians are enrolled in higher education. Increasing their access is considered critical to ensuring a better educated workforce while making the country more competitive. For instance, a college-educated worker in Brazil earns about three times more than a person without a college degree, thus making higher education a significant factor in improving people’s lives.
IFC’s 65 million Brazilian reais loan to Grupo Ser Educacional’s holding company, Ensino Superior Bureau Juridico S.A., will be used to improve existing campuses and acquire six new campuses and a library. The new campuses—located in urban centers easily accessible by public transport in Northeastern Brazil—include João Pessoa in the state of Paraiba, Fortaleza in Ceara, Maceió in Alagoas, and three campuses in Pernambuco: Caruaru, Boa Viagem, and Paulista.
“IFC’s global education strategy includes supporting providers that can operate in multiple markets with the potential to increase access to higher education in underserved areas and reach lower-income groups,” said Guy Ellena, IFC Director for Health and Education. “This financing is a good example of that priority.”
IFC hopes the project sends a positive signal to other investors about the education sector in Brazil where private financing plays a key role in complementing the public sector to expand access to post-secondary education, Mr. Ellena added.
“Partnering with IFC, which has global experience of investing in private education in emerging and developing markets, will facilitate our expansion and enable us to increase efficiency and raise standards,” said Jânyo Diniz, Chief Executive Officer, Grupo Ser Educacional.
“It will also help us respond to the demand for affordable post-secondary education in a region where higher education rates are quite low,” Mr. Diniz added. The company hopes to double student enrolments (now at 30,000) by 2014.
IFC is the largest multilateral investor in private education in emerging markets and supports the growth of education in developing countries in a sustainable and socially responsible way.