The $111 million initiative to fund education for African students

8B Education Investments connects high-potential African students with world-class colleges and universities. Photo courtesy of Pixabay/Pexels.

This post originally appeared on The Washington Informer

By Stacy M. Brown

8B Education Investments, which built the first platform that connects high-potential African students with world-class colleges and universities and the tools to improve their applications and financial options, announced a partnership with Nelnet Bank to generate $30 million in loans over three years.

The partnership, made possible by 8B’s use of what officials called innovative credit enhancement to secure losses incurred by Nelnet over the life of the loan program, marks the first loan program from a US-based bank. United States to African students enrolled in American schools.

Officials said the $30 million pledge was part of a broader $111.6 million pledge made last month to the Clinton Global Initiative to accelerate access for African students to global universities.

“So far, African students have had limited access to global universities, with enrollment largely dependent on the chance of a scholarship,” said Dr. Lydiah Kemunto Bosire, Founder and CEO of 8B, in a statement. communicated. “The world has underinvested in African genius. As a result, hundreds of thousands of African students receive offers from world-class universities every year and do not enroll, mainly due to a lack of funding.

“We are delighted that our partnership with Nelnet Bank will help us provide funding to this underserved group of bright students and set an example on how to accelerate Africa’s access to global innovation ecosystems” , said Bosire.

According to a press release, 8B estimates that the 500,000 African students enrolled in global universities represent 30% of the students who have received offers from these universities. Consequently, Africans are underrepresented in global universities and, by extension, in global innovation ecosystems.

“Our partnership with 8B is a historic milestone in the history of student loans and a giant step towards improving access for African students,” said Andrea Moss, CEO of Nelnet Bank. “Together we can provide an opportunity for one of the fastest growing student populations in the world that has been neglected for far too long. Nelnet Bank is delighted to be working on this with our colleagues at 8B Education Investments.

As the first fintech solution focused on African students, 8B said it is committed to enabling African brilliance to have global impact. 8B provides tools to enable African students to identify best-fit global universities, improve their applications, access affordable funding, and connect with professional support for placement.

“There are few affordable student loan options for African learners, although there is a wide range of international students. Nelnet’s bold loan funding commitment to 8b Education Investments will catalyze growth and unlock African excellence,” said Debra Fine, Founding Chairman of the Board of 8B Education Investments and President of Fine Capital Partners.

“I’ve spent 35 years evaluating business opportunities,” Fine said. “This partnership is one of the most extraordinary I have seen. 8B uses a proven business model to create extraordinary value and impact across Africa and the world. This partnership is a great example of how private capital can invest in Africa’s future.

8B and Nelnet Bank announced their partnership at the CGI Meeting, which brings together global and emerging leaders to take action on the world’s most pressing challenges.

Within the CGI community, 8B said it has brought together multiple partners to support Africa’s access to global innovation ecosystems.

The release notes that CGI’s engagement of 8B, including students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), will accelerate Africa’s access to global innovation ecosystems and foster diversity and inclusion in universities and global workplaces.

It will also establish a scalable market-based model for financing world-class human capital development in low-income countries.

The partnerships have a combined value of $111.6 million that will be deployed over the next three years.

“These partnerships will transform the lives of more than 1,400 future innovators on the African continent through affordable student funding and reach more than 2 million African students in higher education,” the officials wrote in the press release.

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