The Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) serves the main goal of creating and enhancing institutional capacity for sustainable education finance across Africa. To achieve this, potential or existing REFFA’s investees will be strengthened in their capacity to develop and implement demand-oriented education loan and savings products, while pursuing economic as well as social goals. Furthermore, the TAF contributes to market intelligence for education finance and promotes innovation in this field.
The success of REFFA depends on the ability of its investees to increase access to finance for their countries’ education sector. This is not only a matter of funding, but also of having the proper lending technology, marketing strategy and organizational setup. REFFA will, therefore, provide its partner institutions with both loans and Technical Assistance (TA).
By combining funding with TA, REFFA ensures the successful implementation of education finance products and services for learners, their families and private education providers in Africa.
The details of the TA will be defined individually for each financial institution, but typically the standard package concentrates on the following areas:
Analysis of the education market (including education finance products and services offered in the market) in order to assess the needs of the target group for education finance products
Support in the design of customized education finance products based on the results of the market analysis
Adaptation of internal processes in order to ensure successful implementation of the education finance products
Staff training in education finance products, credit technology, etc.
Support in the planning and execution of marketing campaigns
Dedicated TA on quality of education and affordability
Once the co-operation agreement is signed the participating financial institution will receive hands-on assistance from experienced consultants throughout the preparation and implementation of the new education finance products. Ownership and involvement of the institution is the key to a successful project implementation. Institutions are required to contribute with in-kind resources to the project (management & staff time, workshop costs, local transport costs office space for consultants) as well as 5% - 30% cash cost share depending on asset size, financial strength and expected financial impact of new products.
REFFA TAF also promotes the capacities of the supply side of education, because private education providers that fulfill certain standards in their internal business organization (i.e. operational efficiency and financial management) are more successful in offering high quality education to their students. This type of project would typically be addressed to networks or training institutes.
REFFA TAF also has the mandate to push the frontier of education finance through product innovation. This type of project, therefore, includes the development of new ideas and approaches on how to structure education finance schemes and products to make them suitable to learners without own income or coming from vulnerable family backgrounds (e.g. student loans). This may include public private partnership (“PPP”) schemes, whereby private funds are combined with public (government or donor) funds.
TA activities can also contribute to the promotion of an enabling market environment for education finance. This may include the participation in conferences, the organization of workshops, or other means or knowledge sharing and dissemination lessons learned as well as good practices.
This type of project involves assessment and research for the purpose of reaching a better understanding of the overall set up and functioning of the education sectors and labor markets in existing or potential REFFA target countries. Also here REFFA TAF intends to implement regular focused impact studies on selected topics.