CATALYZE teams up with Opportunity International to accelerate education finance in DRC

USAID CATALYZE
2 min readMar 29, 2021

CATALYZE EduFinance DRC is partnering with Opportunity International to accelerate investment in the affordable non-state school sector from local financial institutions and provide capacity building for school leaders and teachers.

Photo Credit: Dominic Chavez, World Bank

The Challenge

The education system in DRC faces many challenges including low coverage, low learning outcomes and high drop-out rates, particularly for girls. COVID-19 has further impeded education access and attainment. A market assessment conducted by CATALYZE EduFinance confirmed demand for private education in DRC including among low-income households. Eighty percent of DRC’s schools are in the non-state sector; the majority (70%) are faith-based schools (ecole conventionees) owned or affiliated to a religious institution, and the remaining are privately owned. More than 70% of schools in Kinshasa are private, half of which are low-fee schools. Although there is an active banking and financial sector in the DRC, few lenders have designed suitable products for the education sector. Any existing bank loans for the sector are directed to the premium or international schools. As a result, non-state schools serving low and middle-income communities in the DRC are not able to access the capital required to manage their working capital and infrastructure financing needs.

Our Approach

In DRC, CATALYZE EduFinance is working with Opportunity International to mobilize access to finance for education in a variety of ways. OI is partnering with financial institutions to mobilize more than US$13 million for low-cost schools over the next four years and plans to finance over 700 schools in urban and peri-urban centers of Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Bukavu and Goma. Among other aims, OI will work to address the financing needs of schools in response to COVID-19. In addition, OI is partnering with financial institutions to provide school fee loans for low-income students.

CATALYZE EduFinance and Opportunity International will also strive to improve education quality by providing professional development for teachers and administrators in 300 schools. This will include gender-responsive training for teachers and school leadership to prioritize girls’ education.

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