Washington, D.C., June 17, 2008— One of IFC’s key strategies is to work in high-risk or frontier countries in social sectors like education and health. By partnering with Yemen’s Al-Mawarid Company for Educational and Health Services, IFC is helping to expand access to high quality and affordable education and health services at the Al-Mawarid-operated University of Science and Technology and the University of Science and Technology Hospital.
There is significant demand for private education and health services in Yemen where existing services (both public and private) are severely limited and are of variable quality and standard. Steady population growth rates and a predominantly young population are contributing to the rising demand for services in both sectors.
IFC’s $8 million facility will be used to partially finance the company’s expansion of its hospital and university operations in Sana’a. Al-Mawarid plans to expand its educational facilities and services to other parts of the country over time. The total project cost is about $18 million.
Al-Mawarid provides affordable services, including tuition, outpatient medical and dental services, and medical treatment to low-income communities. It has increased access to quality education for women and provides an open platform for distance learning. The company educates about 17,000 students, treats more than 150,000 patients a year, and employs more than 1,500 staff.
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By expanding overall hospital and university capacity, the project will also help to relieve the burden on the public health and education systems.
“IFC is playing a critical role by providing long-term flexible financing, sharing global sector knowledge, and advising on best management and operational practices,” said IFC Director Guy Ellena. “The project will help guide Al-Mawarid’s corporate governance and operating practices as well as its environmental and social standards,” he added.
IFC also expects to share its project implementation experience and know-how from its regional and global expertise in university and hospital projects in the developing world.
Since January 2007, the Health and Education Department has committed about $126 million in financing to social sector projects in the Middle East and North Africa region.
“The growing middle class across MENA is contributing to the demand for accessible and affordable university education and medical care,” said Director Michael Essex. “There is also an increasing need to expand access to larger segments of the population down the income pyramid,” he added.
The project will help to attract and retain educators and medical professionals who might otherwise choose to work overseas, thereby reducing “brain drain” and severe shortages of qualified teachers, doctors, and nurses.
The University of Science and Technology was established in 1992 as a community college and expanded to a full university in 1994, with branches located in six governorates of Yemen. The largest of these is in Sana’a. It has identified advancing the education of women as a priority – currently 45 percent of its total students are women as compared to other universities in Sana’a where the average is 25 percent women. The university also provides cheaper outpatient and dental services to low-income households in the community.
The University of Science and Technology Hospital, established in 2005, includes a full-service 144-bed teaching hospital and a medical residence for students. Its goal is to provide high-quality and affordable medical services – primary, secondary, and tertiary – to the Yemeni people. The hospital also offers low-cost treatments to low-income patients.
Health and Education Department, IFC