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IFC’s Curro Investment Will Expand Access to K-12 Education in South Africa

Washington, D.C., May 5, 2010— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is investing 72.7 million rand ($9.8 million equivalent) in South Africa’s Curro Holdings to expand its network to eight schools, increasing the availability of affordable, quality education.
Curro, a K-12 education services provider, operates four schools in South Africa’s Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces. The project, which responds to the demand for high-quality private schooling, will raise enrolment from 1,600 to 6,400 by 2017, and expand Curro’s operations in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces and into the Mpumalanga Province.
“IFC’s international experience and leadership in education makes it an excellent partner for Curro,” said Dr. Chris van der Merwe, Founder and CEO, Curro Holdings.  “Our long-term goal is to expand access to learning in South Africa by creating a large network of schools to keep up with changing educational and teaching requirements.”
Public schools in South Africa face severe challenges due to demands from a growing population and limitations on government funding for expansion. The quality of education suffers from too many students and too few teachers per class, aging infrastructure, and the lack of schools near new residential neighborhoods, thus providing an opportunity for private schools such as Curro.  
“Education is critical to promoting growth and social mobility and we are committed to helping our clients provide quality services, especially in areas that lack access,” said Guy Ellena, IFC Director, Health and Education.  “IFC will continue to work with Curro on extending its reach throughout South Africa.”
Jean-Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, said, “By increasing the availability of affordable first-rate education, this project will ease the burden on an already over-stretched public education system and improve the quality of high school graduates that go into the job market.”  
IFC’s long-term South African rand loan and flexible financing terms also will allow Curro to implement its expansion program in a strategic and sustainable manner and keep its tuition reasonably priced for the foreseeable future.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing capital for private enterprise, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit .
About Curro
Curro Holdings, a for-profit private sector institution, is the parent company of Curro private schools in South Africa.  Paladin Capital, a PSG Group subsidiary, acquired a 50 percent stake in Curro Holdings in July 2009.  The invested capital will enable Curro to aggressively expand its footprint to 15 new schools.  For more information, visit .