Today, XSML announced its third investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through its Central Africa SME Fund (CASF). This investment will help increase capacity at “Le Palmier”, an educational institution in Lubumbashi, with three existing schools for children from 4 to 18 years.
Lubumbashi, with two million people the second most populous city of DRC, has grown significantly over the last years due the increase of mining activities. Population growth in cities such as Lubumbashi is not supported by sufficient public investment in the educational sector, leading to a lack of supply by existing schools.
In each of its three schools, Le Palmier offers quality education to a total of about 4,000 students at nursery, primary and secondary level. This is being attested for by the high and further improving success rate at state exams, which mark the end of secondary education.
CASF funding will support the construction, on a plot of 4,800 m2, of a fourth school with 30 classrooms and an office building with a total building area of 1,400 m2 as well as help the modernization of teaching methods and administration. The investment will enable Le Palmier to offer 1,350 additional students high quality education at an affordable price for families with low and middle income.
Marcel Posthuma, Managing Partner at XSML, said: “Our investment in nursery, primary and secondary education reflects the importance of the educational sector for the future of DRC. Future generations are formed in schools. Proper training, accessible to as many as possible, helps drive fundamental and lasting change. Education facilitates access to the professional world and helps build personal traits such as discipline and perseverance. This is important to young lives and contributes to the development of the individual, community and country. We are proud to be part of this initiative. “
Establishing schools closer to remote communities helps a larger number of children gain access to education. Mr Jean Kabangu, Promoter of Le Palmier: “When we created our first school in 1995, our goal was to provide education to students in Lubumbashi according to the national standards in DRC, but with an emphasis on excellence. Since then, we opened two schools, one in 2001 and another in 2010, which were warmly welcomed by parents and students. These days, the growth of Lubumbashi requires additional educational infrastructure. So we started to build a fourth school with a capacity of 1,300 students to be closer to students living in the new “Plateau Golf” district. This is an important step in the process of extending education in DRC. We look forward to working with XSML because the team understands the need to provide education of high quality and at an affordable price.”
CASF is an investment fund investing in small and medium-sized enterprises in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic. The fund believes in achieving sustainable economic development by encouraging entrepreneurship in the fast growing markets of DRC and CAR. Currently, many opportunities in these countries remain unexploited due to the lack of risk capital and support. The multiplier impact of such entrepreneurial endeavours creates jobs and income. CASF is a USD 25m fund (target) with 80% allocation to DRC and 20% in CAR. CASF provides risk capital with an investment size ranging from USD 100,000 to a maximum of USD 500,000.
XSML is an independent private equity fund manager with a focus on emerging markets. As an architect, building new funds and local fund managers in frontier markets, XSML, eXtra Small Medium Large, aims to grow small businesses into medium and large enterprises. XSML was founded in 2008. The managing partners have an extensive background in emerging markets in the areas of asset management, corporate and development banking and corporate restructuring. Experience has shown that demand for finance from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) remains largely untapped despite increased interest from international investors in emerging markets. XSML bridges the gap between international investors and SMEs in emerging markets.
About Le Palmier
Created in 1995, Le Palmier is an educational institution dedicated to nursery, primary and secondary schools in Lubumbashi, relying on a team of experienced and competent teachers. The school’s vision is to provide quality education at an affordable price close to children from low and middle income families.