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IFC Forum for International Investors in Private Higher Education February 1-3, 2006, Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 27, 2006—The International Finance Corporation will host its second forum for international investors in private higher education, February 1-3, 2006, at IFC headquarters in Washington, D.C. More than 100 leading investors from 30 countries are expected to attend.
Noting the critical importance of private higher education in the emerging markets, Lars Thunell, executive vice president, IFC, said, “The forum will provide a venue for investors to learn about important changes that are affecting global higher education, share best practices in innovative financing and delivery, and explore ways to strengthen the private sector’s role in the provision of higher education in developing economies.”

Mr. Thunell added, “Mobilizing private providers and investors in the area of higher education has become especially true in the emerging markets. Until the 1990’s, higher education was mainly financed by the public sector. In developing economies this is no longer the case and IFC has an important leadership role to play in working with both governments and private investors to demonstrate new and practical ways that private sector investment can be mobilized.”

The keynote speaker at the opening dinner, February 1, will be Sir John Daniel, president and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning. Formerly, Sir John was assistant director-general for education at UNESCO and vice chancellor at the U.K.’s Open University.

Sessions will cover case studies across the higher education sector, the establishment of overseas university campuses, and the realities of cross-border delivery in higher education. The economics of developing models of information and communications technology-assisted distance learning will be a featured session along with recent trends in innovative financing of private higher education initiatives. Full details of the forum are available on IFC’s Website.

Guy Ellena, IFC director for health and education, said, “Global economic pressures, technology advances, and concerns with standards in service and curriculum underscore the need to share ideas about best practices and develop new ways to meet the growing need for investment in higher education in developing countries. We hope this forum will go some way in meeting this need.”

For the first time, IFC will organize a special half-day pre-forum event titled, “Innovative Schooling.” This will bring together key international representatives from the K-12 sector to share case studies illustrating the improvement of educational outcomes through innovative models of computer-assisted delivery.

The forum is IFC’s first global event in 2006—its 50th anniversary year—during which several activities are planned to highlight the private sector’s role in developing the emerging markets.

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit

FOR MEDIA ONLY: The forum is an “invitation-only” event. Should you wish to attend, please call or e-mail (202-473-7700) and (202-473-4274).


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