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Opportunity International and Oikocredit announce $100m impact investment agreement

Staff writer
Nov. 11, 2021, 9:57 p.m.
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Opportunity International and Oikocredit have announced an innovative, 3-year collaboration to increase access to and quality of education in low-income countries through the investment of up to $100m in financial institutions, which are benefiting from Opportunity International’s EduFinance program, reaching an estimated 1.6 million children. 

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Opportunity International and Oikocredit have announced an innovative, 3-year collaboration to increase access to and quality of education in low-income countries through the investment of up to $100m in financial institutions, which are benefiting from Opportunity International’s EduFinance program, reaching an estimated 1.6 million children. 

Mirjam ‘t Lam, Interim MD, Oikocredit, said: “Oikocredit’s ambition is to empower low-income people with the choices they need to create a life of dignity. A key enabling element for this is access to education. We’re proud to be partnering with Opportunity International to improve access to education for low-income people via training and financing new initiatives together with financial inclusion partners.”

Opportunity International and Oikocredit will mobilize the funds over the next three years with an initial, near-term focus on Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, and Uganda. 

The collaboration is a distinctive agreement between tenured, mission-aligned global organizations to support the growth in access to quality education particularly for children from low-income families.

Under the terms of the agreement, both organizations will target financial institutions serving the needs of the most vulnerable populations, providing financial capital and training in support of the development of the education sector in the target markets. 

This collaboration will enable critical resources including school improvement loans for classrooms, washrooms, dormitories, teachers, and transportation; support school leaders with financial products to make instruction more effective; and provide loans for school fees and tuitions to keep students in the classroom.

As a global leader in education finance in low-income countries, Opportunity’s EduFinance program has facilitated $442m in loans to support the access to quality education. 

Opportunity’s EduFinance programming includes an Education Finance technical assistance facility and the Education Quality program.

Atul Tandon, CEO, Opportunity International, said: “Our aim is to help those who need it most to stand on their own feet, earn a sustainable livelihood, and send their children to school. This collaboration further solidifies Opportunity International’s position as a waymaker in providing access to capital and training to get more children into schools.” 

“This comes at a critical time, when an estimated 264 million children globally are still out of school, households living in extreme poverty are suffering, and as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to widen income inequalities around the world.”

Randy Kurtz, executive vice president, international programs and capital solutions, Opportunity International, said: “Given our more than ten years of experience in the education sector in low-income countries, we know that combining tailored lending with strong training and support for financial institutions and schools will expand our signature EduFinance franchise and Oikocredit’s footprint. This collaboration will enable better learning outcomes at borrowing schools, because when schools get access to capital, students do better.”

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