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Opportunity International And Finca Combine Forces To Improve Education In Nigeria

By Opportunity International

Opportunity International EduFinance and FINCA Microfinance Bank Nigeria have partnered to expand access to education loans in South East of Nigeria.  The partnership, via Opportunity’s EduFinance Technical Assistance Facility (ETAF), will introduce a School Fee Loan product for parents of students in public and private sector education, as well as a School Improvement Loan product for affordable private schools to expand and improve their schools. 

The partnership aims to reach at least 118,000 children within the next two years. Leveraging Opportunity’s deep history in EduFinance across Africa and FINCA’s over 30 years of experience providing responsible financial services. As part of the partnership, ETAF will provide technical support in the areas of market research, product design and staff training, as well as operational funding support to grow internal capacity for EduFinance product management.

Equally important, the partnership will shine a light on the breadth of financial service providers in the market, demonstrating the win-win that comes from microfinance institutions expanding into the education lending space.  Opportunity International EduFinance estimates the accessible market size for Education Finance lending products to be at least USD 1.15 billion in Nigeria.

“Having seen its success in other countries, we are really excited to grow our portfolio by expanding into the education finance market,” said Andre Lalumiere, CEO of FINCA Microfinance Bank Nigeria “We are a growing microfinance institution with a mission to alleviate poverty and we believe supporting education is a key factor to achieving this.  We anticipate making a real difference to the lives of our clients through offering responsible financial services designed to improve the education quality of our local schools, and to help our clients’ children go to and stay in school. 

The country’s ever-expanding affordable private school sector needs sustainable solutions to help children access a quality education. With 63% of the population under the age of 24, the state education system is unable to provide for the growing numbers of youth in need of an education.  An estimated 43.9 million children attend school in Nigeria, though supply of education – especially for poor families – continues to plague students in the country.  The School Improvement Loan product will target the growth of services to low-income families by bolstering the ability of schools in low-income environments to grow their intake.

Opportunity EduFinance is thrilled to expand into Nigeria – a country where we’re keen to have a presence”, said Nathan Byrd, Head of Education Finance, Opportunity International.  “This partnership enables us to bring our expertise and experience to a new partner where there’s real need for sustainable, scalable education programmes.  Back in 2010 UNESCO estimated 8.7m primary aged children were out of school in Nigeria alone – a tragic figure.  It’s time that the Nigerian microfinance sector awakens to its role in alleviating this crisis, and we’re excited to be taking this first step with FINCA.”

FINCA MfB Nigeria commenced operations in 2014 with its headquarters in Owerri, Imo State in the southeast of Nigeria and presently serves over 20,000 clients. FINCA MfB is a subsidiary of FINCA Microfinance Holding (FMH) and part of a network of 21 microfinance institutions and banks.

The missions of both FINCA Microfinance Bank Nigeria and Opportunity International align in the aim to alleviate poverty through sustainable, localised solutions. 

Opportunity’s ETAF was established in 2015 to provide financial institutions with a broad array of tools and deep data-driven insight to target, launch, and grow localised Education Finance products and services. 

Learn more about FINCA Microfinance Nigeria, Opportunity International, and ETAF.

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