WEST AFRICA – Venture Capital firm Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) has partnered the Mastercard Foundation to support businesses in the education sector to recover from the impact of COVID-19.

The partnership creates a US$10.5 million three-year programme that will accelerate 30 education entrepreneurs Ghana, Ivory Coast and Senegal by addressing key challenges related to access, quality, and relevance faced within the sector.

These include funding for education businesses in recovery phase seeking to adapt and expand, skills development through technical assistance to accelerate SMEs’ digital transformation, education opportunities through innovative social inclusion mechanisms, and data and advocacy through robust impact management systems and policy dialogue.

Startups and SMEs will be selected based on their capacity to offer quality education and training, while promoting employability and youth empowerment within their countries of operations.

“As a pioneering impact investment group, we have witnessed the gap between the available skills of young women and men and the needs of the job market,” said Emilie Debled, executive director for strategic developments and partnerships at I&P.

“While African governments have limited means to solve these problems, the private sector is increasingly perceived as a possible complementary player that could boost access to, and the quality and relevance of education.”        

By accelerating the work of edupreneurs and SMEs in the education space, the programme aims to impact 95,000 beneficiaries, including students, trainees, and ed-tech platform users served by these businesses, out of which 55 per cent will be women and 33 per cent disadvantaged youth.

Investisseurs & Partenaires (I&P) is a pioneering impact investing group entirely dedicated to financing and supporting start-ups and medium-sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. I&P was launched in 2002 by Patrice Hoppenot and has been led by Jean-Michel Severino since 2011.

The team of approximately 90 people is based in 8 African hubs (Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Niger and Senegal), in Paris and in Washington D.C.

I&P has partnered with more than 120 companies operating in some fifteen African countries in a wide range of sectors. I&P brings long-term financing as well as strategic, managerial and technical support. As an impact investor, I&P’s mission is to maximize the societal impact of its partner companies and contribute to dynamic and inclusive growth in Africa.

The Mastercard Foundation COVID-19 Recovery and Resilience Program has two main goals.  First to deliver emergency support for health workers, first responders and students. Second, to strengthen the diverse institutions that are the first line of defense against the social and economic aftermath of this disease.

These include universities, financial services providers, businesses, technology start-ups, incubators, government agencies, youth organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

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