Actis, a leading investor in growth markets, has maintained its focus on investing in learning opportunities across the African continent with the launch of a major pan-African higher education initiative – Honoris United Universities.
Honoris United Universities is the first African private higher education network bringing together the leading tertiary education institutions in North and Southern Africa for the first time. Honoris United Universities will harness the collaborative intelligence and the pioneering efforts of these institutions to educate Africa’s next generations of leaders and professionals.
Actis began with “beacon” markets in Francophone Africa. In December 2014, it made an investment in Université Centrale Group, the leading post-secondary education group in Tunisia. In 2016, the platform expanded to Morocco, creating a Northern Africa Hub through its investment in Université Mundiapolis. Mundiapolis is renowned for its international approach and focuses on employability.
Hichem Omezzine, Co-Lead Global Education Sector, Actis, said: “We have developed extensive domain knowledge in the education sector by backing the trend for emerging market consumers to secure their own and their children’s future quality of life by investing in their education. This has given us the credibility and experience to identify and to work with world-class institutions to support their growth ambitions.
Today, Actis announces a further commitment to Francophone Africa through an investment, subject to regulatory approvals, in EMSI, Ecole Marocaine des Sciences de l’Ingénieur the largest private institution in Morocco and the leading private engineering school.
Actis also announced the expansion of Honoris United Universities to South Africa, an important Anglophone beacon market that will anchor the platform in Southern Africa. Subject to regulatory approvals, Honoris has entered into an investment agreement with Management College of Southern Africa, better known as “MANCOSA”, and the REGENT Business School. Together, MANCOSA and REGENT are South Africa’s leading private distance learning institutions, focused on providing accredited, accessible and affordable education.
These agreements in Morocco and South Africa mark the genesis of the pan-African education leadership position that Honoris United Universities seeks to cement. As a whole, Honoris United Universities will offer more than 100 degrees in fields including Health Sciences, Engineering, IT, Business, Law, Architecture, Arts and Design, Media, Education and Political Science. Delivery is focused on student success and accessibility and includes a blend of on-campus, learning centers and distance learning.
Rick Philips, Partner, Actis, said: “Actis has been operating in Africa for over seven decades. Through the businesses in which we invest we employ over 100,000 people. We understand not only what students are looking for in terms of quality and access but what their prospective employers are looking for when they graduate. Businesses are looking for applicants with internationally accredited levels of education. Employers in Africa have ambitions across the continent and beyond – they need candidates with global perspectives but who understand the diversity of Africa and their local markets and can demonstrate the skills to operate successfully.”
Actis is a leading investor in growth markets with over $13bn raised since inception and a growing portfolio of investments across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Over 40% of Actis’s investments are located across Africa. With $3 billion invested in the continent, Africa is at the heart of the firm’s strategy.
Within private equity, Actis has invested over $5.5bn and focuses on mid-market, high-growth companies across four sectors: consumer, financial services, healthcare, and industrials. The business has completed over 150 transactions and 100+ exists across four fund vintages.
Actis’ real estate business closed its third fund in 2016 – the largest private real estate fund targeting sub-Saharan Africa to date.