Initiated by KfW Development Bank and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Regional Education Finance Fund for Africa (REFFA or the Fund) is the first regional education finance facility for Africa. It aims to provide customized financial services for the education sector in a demand-oriented, financially sustainable, and socially responsible manner.
As part of this innovative approach, the Fund and its Technical Assistance Facility partner with financial institutions by supporting them in the development of sustainable financial services for private education providers as well as learners and their families. In doing so, the Fund and the participating financial institutions help improve access to quality education and affordable education, as well as contribute to the socially responsible economic development of African countries.
REFFA provides funding for on-lending to financial institutions in Africa. Financial intermediaries – including banks, microfinance institutions, credit co-operatives and other finance companies – across Africa can receive funding and Technical Assistance (TA) for the expansion and/or development of their education finance portfolios. Financial institutions are key to meet the fund’s impact and sustainability targets as they are the preferred channel to deliver tailored financial products to the education sector. Capacity building and funding of local financial intermediaries ensure long-term access to financing for the education sector.
With its unique approach of aiming for improved, target group-oriented access to financial services for education, the Regional Education Finance Fund for Africa (REFFA) not only has a demonstration effect, but also helps to promote the development of the financial system in the region by opening up a new market segment for the participating financial institutions.
The Fund is open to all types of financial institutions in Africa that have an interest in catering to the education sector. The Fund’s partners and investors place great value on responsible banking practices such as good governance, client protection principles, and social and environmental standards.
Established in December 2012 REFFA was initiated by the German Development Bank (KFW) and funded by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The REFFA Fund and the accompanying Technical Assistance (TA) facility are managed by BlueOrchard Finance Ltd.
BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager and a member of the Schroders Group.
The firm is dedicated to fostering inclusive and climate-smart growth in emerging and frontier markets, while providing attractive returns for investors.
BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the world’s first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments. The firm has built a distinct track record in offering premium impact investment solutions, including credit, private equity, and sustainable infrastructure. Being an expert in innovative blended finance mandates, the firm is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions.
BlueOrchard has invested to date more than USD 6bn for sophisticated global private and public clients, enabling tangible social and environmental impact.
INVESTORS AND DONORS
The Fund capital structure as of June 2019 includes investors in all share classes. The junior tranche is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) represented by the German Development Bank (KFW).
The mezzanine tranche is funded by CDC Group (the UK’s DFI), by OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) and by BlueOrchard Finance (the Fund and TA Manager). Please see joint press release here.
The senior tranche, which is still open for fundraising, accounts for investments from foundations, family offices and NGOs. Some junior (i.e. BMZ), mezzanine (i.e. CDC) and private investors have also combined their investment in the Fund with a donation to the Technical Assistance Facility. More contributions to the TA Facility are sought as capacity building is crucial for the further development of education portfolio products and services at the level of the partner financial institutions as well as at the level of the final beneficiaries (e.g. schools and education providers of various types).
Qualified private investors have the opportunity to invest in shares and notes depending on the duration of their investment. The Fund seeks to attract socially responsible investors that want to contribute to the objectives of the Fund: access to education, quality of education, and affordability of education in Africa. These objectives are combined with adequate financial returns over the life of the Fund.
To find out more about individual investment opportunities, please contact the REFFA Fund Manager.