Improving Lives: Health & Education Strengthening Human Capital

Article originally published in the IFC’s Annual Report 2015.

Across the world, more than a billion Health-Edu-Story-Bannerpeople lack access to quality health services. Nearly three-fourths of the 38 million worldwide deaths from chronic illnesses — such as cancer — occur in developing countries. Globally, more than 57 million children do not attend school, with 30 million of them in Africa alone.

These statistics highlight a major obstacle to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity: high-quality education and health-care services still aren’t as widely available and affordable as they need to be. This is a challenge that’s best addressed when the public and private sectors act in concert to advance the interests of society.

Governments play a critical role in ensuring the quality and affordability of health and education. But the private sector can make a significant contribution — by finding innovative ways to deliver high-quality services in places where they are most needed.

Expanding access to health care and education is a central element of our strategy. As the largest multilateral investor in private health care and education, we have invested more than $4 billion in health and education companies in emerging markets. In FY15, we invested nearly $1 billion in the health and education sectors, including funds mobilized from other investors. Our clients helped educate 3.5 million students and treated more than 17 million patients.

In Peru, we invested $25 million in a start-up private education company, Proyectos Educativos Integrales del Peru, to help set up a university and a network of institutes for technical and vocational training. The initiative will target low-income students — improving their employment opportunities while addressing a rising demand for such jobs.

In Kenya, IFC is bringing world-class standards through our work with our client AAR Healthcare. AAR runs 28 clinics in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, offering a range of medical services, from gynecology to pharmacy, under one roof.

In Brazil, the private sector provides health care for one in four Brazilians. IFC’s $255 million investment in Rede D’Or, Brazil’s largest network of private hospitals, will help the group expand to serve 525,000 more patients a year, easing pressure on the public hospital system.

In Turkey, we arranged €433 million in loans — including €35 million from our own account — to develop a 1,550-bed health campus in Adana. The project is part of a public-private partnership program launched by the Turkish government.

Our investments in specialty hospitals support innovations that bring down the cost of procedures like heart and eye surgery. IFC’s $5.5 million equity investment in Eye-Q Vision, for example, will help the chain expand access to high-quality and affordable eye-care services to several Indian cities.