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Actis-backed African education group acquires Nigerian university – CEO

By Chijioke Ohuocha

ABUJA, July 1 (Reuters) – A pan-African education group backed by global investment firm Actis has acquired its first university in Nigeria as it seeks to make inroads into Africa’s largest economy, its chief executive told Reuters.

Honoris United Universities, majority owned by private equity firm Actis, has universities in countries including Tunisia, Morocco, Mauritius, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

CEO Luis Lopez said Honoris closed the deal to acquire Nile University in February before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Nigeria. He declined to disclose financial details of the acquisition.

Nigeria is the education group’s first entry into West Africa, he added.

Some 1,700 students have graduated from Nile, founded in 2009 in the capital Abuja. It has 3,500 students who pay tuition fees of around 2.4 million naira ($6,700) each on average per year.

Lopez said Honoris would look to expand the university’s 113-hectare campus and increase its student base to 10,000 within six years.

“The first thing we noted is that there is big demand for high-quality education provided in Nigeria,” he told Reuters.

The pandemic has disrupted learning for students seeking education at home and abroad.

Honoris has been supporting its students with digital and distance learning platforms for the past four months as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupt services.

Lopez said Honoris would expand Nile’s distance learning and digital capabilities to target students in the commercial city of Lagos and two other states in northern Nigeria.

($1 = 360.00 naira) (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing by Alexis Akwagyiram and Pravin Char)


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