Actis launches first pan-African private higher education network

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Actis, a leading investor in growth markets, has announced a major pan-African higher education initiative – Honoris United Universities.

Honoris United Universities is the first African private higher education network bringing together the leading tertiary education institutions in North and Southern Africa for the first time. Honoris United Universities will harness the collaborative intelligence and the pioneering efforts of these institutions to educate Africa’s next generations of leaders and professionals.

Actis began with “beacon” markets in Francophone Africa. In December 2014, it made an investment in Université Centrale Group, the leading post-secondary education group in Tunisia. In 2016, the platform expanded to Morocco, creating a Northern Africa Hub through its investment in Université Mundiapolis. Mundiapolis is renowned for its international approach and focus on employability.

Announcing subsequent additions

Today, Actis announces a further commitment to Francophone Africa through an investment, subject to regulatory approvals, in EMSI, Ecole Marocaine des Sciences de l’Ingénieur the largest private institution in Morocco and the leading private engineering school.

Actis is today also announcing the expansion of Honoris United Universities to South Africa, an important Anglophone beacon market that will anchor the platform in Southern Africa. Subject to regulatory approvals, Honoris has entered into an investment agreement with Management College of Southern Africa, better known as “MANCOSA”, and the REGENT Business School. Together, MANCOSA and REGENT are South Africa’s leading private distance learning institutions, focused on providing accredited, accessible and affordable education.

These agreements in Morocco and South Africa mark the genesis of the pan-African education leadership position that Honoris United Universities seeks to cement. As a whole, Honoris United Universities will offer more than 100 degrees in fields including Health Sciences, Engineering, IT, Business, Law, Architecture, Arts and Design, Media, Education and Political Science. Delivery is focused on student success and accessibility and includes a blend of on-campus, learning centers and distance learning.

Introducing the newly appointed CEO

Actis is pleased to announce the appointment of Luis Lopez as the CEO of Honoris United Universities. Luis brings a strong track record of student success and international management experience from Laureate International Universities.

Luis Lopez, newly appointed CEO of Honoris United Universities, stated – “I am proud to introduce Honoris United Universities, a unique platform providing international quality education. It is rooted in the vision of the founders of the member institutions. Aware of the vital need for their communities to develop human capital, they have each worked for decades to build relevant and demanding academic models with the dual objectives of developing the employability and the life skills of their graduates. We believe our key values – collaborative intelligence, mobility and agility – unite us in the purpose of securing a successful impact for our students, their families and their communities.”

The Founders include Slah and Chédia Ben Turkia, who established Université Centrale, IMSET (Institut Maghrébin des Sciences Economiques et de Technologie) and Académie d’Art de Carthage in Tunisia; Professor Yusuf Karodia, the founder of MANCOSA & REGENT Business School in Southern Africa; Dr. Bargach El Fatimi, Dr. Jawad Khayat, Dr. Kamal Daissaoui and Mr. Zouhair Benabbou, as founders of EMSI and Mr. Lotfi El Eulj, Mr. Abdelaziz Lahlou and their partners, the founders of Université Mundiapolis. These leaders are characterized by a strong belief in creating pan-regional successful graduates with cross-border academic qualifications and work experience to be competitive in today’s fast-paced and demanding labor markets.

Rick Philips, Partner, Actis, said: “Actis has been operating in Africa for over seven decades. Through the businesses in which we invest we employ over 100,000 people. We understand not only what students are looking for in terms of quality and access but what their prospective employers are looking for when they graduate. Businesses are looking for applicants with internationally accredited levels of education. Employers in Africa have ambitions across the continent and beyond – they need candidates with global perspectives but who understand the diversity of Africa and their local markets and can demonstrate the skills to operate successfully.

Hichem Omezzine, Co-Lead Global Education Sector, Actis, said: “We have developed extensive domain knowledge in the education sector by backing the trend for emerging market consumers to secure their own and their children’s future quality of life by investing in their education. This has given us the credibility and experience to identify and to work with world class institutions to support their growth ambitions. We are absolutely thrilled to expand our partnership with Université Centrale and Université Mundiapolis to MANCOSA, REGENT and EMSI – three incredibly impactful market leaders.

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