Actis-backed Honoris makes an entry into Egypt with Merit University acquisition

EGYPT – Honoris United Universities, that is majority-owned by leading global investment firm Actis, has announced that its latest expansion by signing definitive transaction documents to acquire Merit University, the leading private university in New Sohag City, Egypt.

The transaction, which is pending regulatory approvals, marks Honoris’ entry into Egypt, adding Merit to its lineup of other universities.

Honoris is the first and largest pan-African network of high-quality private higher education institutions across Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Southern Africa and Mauritius that encompass over 61,000 students, united by an unrelenting commitment to preparing world-class African talent for the jobs of tomorrow.

The acquisition of Merit marks Honoris’ entry into the Egyptian higher education market, the largest market in Africa with more than 3 million enrolled students.

This strategic partnership will allow Honoris and Merit to respond to the increasing demand in high-quality education in Egypt through the provision of quality education with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

“This is an incredibly exciting acquisition for Honoris as we enter this strategically important country for education in Africa,” commenting on the announcement, CEO of Honoris, Dr. Jonathan Louw, said.

“As Merit joins our Education for Impact mission, we will continue to support its focus on STEM whilst combining it with the shared expertise of our network of outstanding institutions. Given Egypt’s significant potential and strength in higher education, we are pleased to be making this investment in the educational system of the country.”

Founded in 2019, Merit currently operates 3 faculties, namely Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy. These faculties accelerate and strengthen the focus on the health sciences vertical within Honoris, becoming the second member institution with a dedicated faculty of Medicine, after Nile University of Nigeria.

“Becoming part of the Honoris family will significantly add to the value proposition for our students and build the academic strength of our current and planned faculties,” speaking from a wealth of 50 years of academic and university leadership, Merit’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Seddik Afifi, added.

“Honoris is uniquely positioned to transfer the know-how needed for the development plans of Merit to satisfy the increasing demand for high quality private education in Upper Egypt.

“New Sohag City is an increasingly important region for the development of Upper Egypt, and the proven track record of Honoris in advancing education in Africa and its focus on employability will undoubtedly enrich our students’ experience as they prepare to enter an increasingly competitive job market.”

As one of only four private universities operating in Upper Egypt, and the only one in the Sohag Governorate, Merit is poised to strongly contribute to scientific research, community development and the preparation of worldclass Egyptian talent.

Since inception, Merit has entered into partnerships with institutions such as Sohag University and fostered academic ties and collaboration with universities in the UK, the US and Australia.

“Egypt is a top priority market for Actis where we have enjoyed strong successes over the many years of investing in the country. Honoris’ growth plans have the full backing of Actis, and entering the Egyptian higher education market has been for a while a strategic priority for Honoris,” Dr. Sherif ElKholy, Partner and Head of the Middle East and North Africa at Actis and member of the board of directors of Honoris, commented.

“We are delighted to have found such a high-quality university like Merit to kick start our ambitious plans for the Egyptian market, and we look forward to working with the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education to bring this important transaction to a successful completion in order to start our development and expansion plans for Merit in a timely manner.”

The Egyptian higher education market is Africa’s largest. It has more than three million enrolled students and the acquisition will allow both institutions to meet growing demand for STEM accreditations.

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