African markets

Honoris United Universities seeks Western level of education in new African markets

The company aims to enter new markets over the next year, Kakon said at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan. The aim is to expand access to “a standard western education in Africa”, she says.

African universities are looking to embrace online learning after Covid-19 disrupted face-to-face teaching and travel bans curbed student mobility. According to the OECD, only 29% of higher education institutions in Africa were able to quickly transition from online teaching and learning, compared to 85% in Europe. The OECD says African higher education must accelerate the digitization of curricula and establish a culture of online training and distance learning.

Honoris, majority owned by Actis investment company, operates in 10 countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, Nigeria and South Africa. It offers a mix of online and on-campus learning and has 61,000 students. Courses include internships in areas such as Medication, Health Sciences, computer science and Business Law.

The aim, says Kakon, is to provide “employability-focused” courses that create “African-relevant human capital.” About 80% of students get paid jobs within three months of completing a course, and former students now work for companies such as Dangote, Standard Bank, Orange and Deloitte, she says.

  • The company, led by the CEO Jonathan Louwplans to expand its presence in Nigeria and South Africa, where it has offices in Abuja and Durban.
  • Honoris bought Nile University of Nigeria in 2020. Lagos is now under consideration for expansion, says Kakon.
  • Honoris is also looking for other universities to join its network, she adds.

Egypt’s potential

In December, Honoris announced an agreement to acquire Merit University, a private university in the city of New Sohag in Egypt. The country is Africa’s largest higher education market with over 3 million students enrolled. Egypt, according to the SCImago platform, is the leading producer of peer-reviewed journal publications in Africa and ranks 30th globally.

Some have questioned the real value added by Egyptian universities. Marwa Mamdouh-Salemresearcher at the University of Helsinki, writes that Egyptian higher education has been criticized as inefficient and has made only a “modest” contribution to employability.

Merit was created in 2019 by presidential decree. It is the only private university in Sohag Governorate and currently offers Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy. Honoris intends to use merit-based buying to focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects.

  • Honoris says Merit’s process of joining the network is ongoing and should be complete soon. “We recognize the value and potential of Egypt as one of the largest education markets in Africa,” and further announcements will follow the completion of the Merit project,” a spokesperson for the agency said. society.
  • Kakon, one of the co-founders of Honoris, is convinced that the company can match Western standards of higher education. “We have a responsibility to promote the opportunities that Africa offers to young people,” she said.

At the end of the line

Honoris believes that Africans can achieve a Western standard education without leaving the continent.