IFC commits $40m to Brazilian education

The eight-year loan will support Anima, a large postsecondary educator IFC first backed in 2013, has the company seeks to grow its student base.

The International Finance Corporation has announced an investment of $40 million into Anima, a Brazilian private education group.

The funds, provided via an eight-year loan, aim to help Anima expand its postsecondary education offerings and grow its student base from the 98,000 in four states it now hosts each year. IFC has been investing equity in Anima since its initial public offering in 2013.

Carmen Valeria de Paula, IFC's principal investment officer of health and education in Brazil, said that the loan will help support the expansion of Anima's distance-learning platforms, among other programmes.

In a statement, the IFC said that whereas other Latin American nations such as Argentina, Chile and Uruguay have gross higher education enrollment rates of around 60 percent, Brazil's rate is at a dismally low 32 percent. “Improving access to postsecondary education is critical for increasing Brazil's competitiveness and its ability to innovate”, the institution noted, adding that investments of this kind were “a strategic priority” for the organisation.

The education system managed by Anima includes Sao Judas Tadeu University in Sao Paulo; university centers in Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, Santos City, and Joinville; and colleges in Betim, Contagem, Curitiba, Florianopolis and Blumenau.

The Anima investment brings IFC's total commitments to the Brazilian education sector to $356 million since 2009. The World Bank affiliate has been investing in Brazil since 1956. It committed nearly $18 billion to long-term investments in developing countries last year alone.