IFC Financing to DUOC, Chile Targets Underserved and 'Base of the Pyramid'

Washington, D.C., March 2, 2010 — IFC will promote access to affordable professional and technical education for low- and middle-income students in Chile with $30 million in financing to Fundación DUOC, a leading educational institution.

Through its network of 12 campuses, DUOC provides a range of technical, vocational, and professional education to 50,000 students. With IFC’s support, the university will expand its facilities and programs, reaching more students with limited access to higher education.

The percentage of young Chileans in the 18–23 age group attending higher education institutions is 17–22 percent for poor people and 79 percent for the highest-income bracket.

“IFC’s financing will help DUOC increase its course offerings in business, construction, health care, and engineering,” said Marcelo Von Chrismar Werth, Rector, DUOC. “These programs are highly relevant to the demands of the local labor market, preparing students to enter the workforce with strong practical skills. The project shows our commitment to good citizenship and corporate social responsibility.”

Guy Ellena, IFC Director for Health and Education, said, “The project will expand the availability of higher education to lower-income segments, which is crucial in Chile. It will also increase access in one of the most densely populated areas of the Santiago Metropolitan region, which has few education opportunities for its mid- to low-income inhabitants.”

Mr. Ellena added, “IFC's financing to DUOC is consistent with our strategy to support private sector participation in education projects that target underserved segments and base-of-the-pyramid populations. Projects like DUOC help create opportunities for better jobs and a better quality of life.” Over 60 percent of DUOC’s students come from the three lowest-income quintiles of the population, compared to 39 percent across Chile’s entire tertiary education sector.

In October 2007, IFC worked with DUOC and Banco de Crédito e Inversiones, one of Chile’s largest banks, to introduce the first private student loan program in the country.

IFC’s role in education in Latin America and the Caribbean includes expanding access to quality education for people from all income groups, introducing innovative means of financing and delivering education services, improving quality and standards, helping students and institutions obtain access to financial support, and complementing public financing and provision to achieve public education goals.

IFC’s Engagement in the Education Sector

Investment in education is a strategic priority and focus for IFC. Our role includes direct investment in companies, sharing industry knowledge and experience, and informing government policy that affects the private education sector. We support the start-up or expansion of initiatives in primary, secondary, technical and vocational, and tertiary education. IFC works with partners who apply best practices, thereby promoting the growth of efficient and effective institutions that create an important public good in an economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable way. IFC also invests with both local and regional partners who provide innovative and high-quality services which are able to reach beyond the main urban centers. Our clients include for-profit and not-for-profit entities.

Why is IFC Involved in Education?

  • To expand access to quality education to middle- and lower- income groups.
  • To introduce innovative means of financing and delivering services.
  • To improve standards of quality and efficiency.
  • To facilitate the international exchange of best practice.
  • To help students and institutions obtain access to finance.
  • To complement the public sector in order to achieve national education goals.

Facts about IFC’s Activities in Education

  • IFC is the world’s largest multilateral investor in the private education sector in emerging markets
  • As of January 2010, IFC committed $469 million in financing to 62 education projects in 30 countries at a total value of $1.54 billion.
  • 21 IFC education projects (35%) were in the world’s poorest countries.
  • IFC-supported education projects employ about 16,000 people in developing countries.
  • IFC-supported projects educate about one million students annually.

How to Apply for IFC Financing

A company or entrepreneur seeking to establish a new education project or expand an existing one can approach IFC directly with an investment proposal. IFC’s Website, www.ifc.org/che, offers more details on how to apply.


Ludi Joseph
Senior Communications Officer
Health & Education Department, IFC
Email: ljoseph@ifc.org
Tel. +1 (202) 473-7700
Website: www.ifc.org/che