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Chancen International announces first close of its US$21m Future Of Work Fund for ethical student financing

RWANDA – Chancen International (CI) has announced the first close for its US$21 million Future of Work Fund (FWF).

The close is a significant move aimed at realizing African Union’s agenda 2063 which advocates for well-educated citizens and skills revolution underpinned by science, technology, and innovation. 

The fund will also bolster UN Sustainable Development Goals in Africa which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

The FWF will provide student financing for 10,000 youths, with a specific focus on women and other traditionally excluded populations.

These activities align with Rwanda’s targets to create 250,000 new jobs every year through vocational training as well as Rwanda’s 2050 vision to create universal access to high quality education for all Rwandans.  

According to data from UNESCO, public spending on education, percentage of GDP in Africa is still low. The average for 2020 based on 14 countries was 4.77%. The highest value was in Namibia at 9.41% and the lowest value was in Mauritania at 1.89%.

To further drive ethical and inclusive access to quality education across the continent, the FWF will extend its model to other countries, with Kenya lined up to be the next beneficiary.

“Our vision is to provide a fair and ethical financial product to allow students to access high quality education,” Batya Blankers, Co-Founder & CEO of CI, said.

“Income Share Agreements evaluate an individual’s future potential in terms of credit risk rather than the traditional focus on current assets and financial standing which limits access to financial products impossible for many students.”  

CI launched the FWF in 2021 with an anchor investment from the UBS Optimus Foundation, based in Switzerland. Through the FWF, high quality education institutions can access funding for each student they enrol.

The FWF has now received additional investment commitments from the US Development Finance Corporation, Klett Group, Kaizenvest, Ceniarth and Cassiopeia. 

“The Future of Work Fund is a gamechanger for student financing in Africa,” commented Nathalie Munyampenda, CEO of Kepler, a Future of Work Fund education partner.

“The FWF allows us to reach more talented youths who otherwise would not be able to access the training needed to successfully transition from learning to earning. Given Kepler’s high employment numbers for graduates, it is clear that investing in these students is a good investment.”

Unique in the set-up of the FWF is an equity stake held by the students themselves, providing student representation at board level, which has been enabled by generous grant support from Vitol Foundation and other philanthropic donors.

The FWF is domiciled in the Kigali International Finance Centre (KIFC), Rwanda.

“There is a huge need for more, better and more inclusive education in Rwanda and with a fast-growing student population we see that the FWF fills a real gap by supporting students to gain better skills and drive Rwanda’s economic development,” Dhun Davar, Head Social Finance, UBS Optimus Foundation, said.

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