A gathering of 65 finance professionals met in Kampala, Uganda last week for the 2019 Global Education Finance Conference, hosted by Opportunity International EduFinance. The conference brought together financial partners from across Africa, Asia and Latin America for three days of collaboration and knowledge sharing focused on EduFinance products and the EduFinance mission to get more children into better quality schools.
Andrew McCusker, Head of Opportunity International EduFinance, opened the conference with an interactive session which asked attendees about their existing education finance knowledge and what they wanted to learn. In the following days, a wide range of topics including non-performing loans, schools’ cash-flow, and how to effectively employ relationship management and restructuring as tools. EduFinance’s financial partners and guests heard from bank managers, financial professionals, and school leaders; and participated in panel discussions, collaborative group sessions, and a client school visit.
“Having a comprehensive understanding of our market is key to ensuring a sustainable programme”, said Abiola Onakomaya, Head of Credit at FINCA. This conference offered the opportunity for those working in this industry to learn more about the affordable education market, the challenges faced by local school leaders, and how to develop solutions using EduFinance programs which meet educators’ needs while advancing the availability of quality education in communities.
Speaking to conference attendees, finance expert Jayesh Jain emphasized that tackling the global education crisis and ensuring equal access to quality education for every child requires an intensive, innovative approach resulting in creative solutions to today’s challenges. The conference offered the opportunity for EduFinance to introduce to attendees a new product which is part of the solution, a credit algorithm for developing scorecards and assessing risk developed by EduFinance and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Turnaround time is one of the biggest challenges in processing the credit applications,” reflected Alex Ahabwe, Education Finance Manager, Opportunity Bank Uganda. This tool, and other strategies and products attendees discussed throughout the conference will help break down barriers between those seeking loans to support educational endeavours and financial institutions.
EduFinance works to improve access to education through finance and supports schools to improve education quality. Through partnerships with over 35 financial institutions in 20 countries, over 250,000 loans have been disbursed to schools and communities, enabling students to stay in school and helping schools improve infrastructure and support working capital costs. EduFinance’s Education Quality programme also supports over 1,200 affordable private schools to improve conditions for learning through a mix of training, resources and local expertise.
To date, EduFinance, has worked to benefit an estimated 3.5 million children in low-middle income countries with improved access to education through a global education lending portfolio that has disbursed over US$209 million cumulatively. The EduFinance technical assistance team works with financial institutions partners to help them develop, launch and manage sustainable education lending portfolios via two flagship education lending products.