WASHINGTON, December 14 /PRNewswire/ --

- New education index sheds light on opportunities for investment in Africa

This month School Ventures launched the African Private Schools Investment Index ("APSI"), developed in cooperation with the Economist Intelligence Unit. The APSI is an analytical tool for investors, policy makers, philanthropists, educationalists, and the general public. It compares the attractiveness of African education markets as destinations for private investment.

Founder and CEO of School Ventures, Mubuso Zamchiya said, "Countries and businesses succeed when people have access to capital, information and communication technology ("ICT"), and quality education. The world has placed confidence in the power of market forces to drive the expansion of financial and ICT services. But 19th century mindsets still dominate our thinking when it comes to education."

The number of private schools in Sub-Saharan Africa is growing rapidly. The private markets offer an important alternative to public provision for expanding access to quality education, but their full potential has yet to be harnessed.

"We can learn a lot from the private schools that serve people in Africa's low income communities," said Professor James Tooley, President of Orient Global Education Fund. "Many of these schools are run as businesses, charging fees that are affordable for people living on poverty-line incomes. Since they generate profit and can repay investments made to improve and expand their operations, private schools for the poor represent a new frontier for educating children on a sustainable basis."

In general, African private schools at both ends of the economic spectrum still have limited access to commercial capital. Knowing that investors cannot be expected to risk capital in markets they do not understand, the APSI (www.apsiindex.com) is taking a bold first step towards placing education market intelligence at investors' fingertips.

"Countries that score well across a number of the six key APSI categories, especially the social, market and operating environments, offer good prospects for investment in private sector education," said Leo Abruzzese, Editorial Director in North America for the Economist Intelligence Unit. "No single factor has propelled countries to the top of the list."

"These are exciting times for education in Africa," said Peter Woicke, former Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation. "And for investors seeking to do well by doing good."

Kristin Simmons Kristin@schoolventures.com +1-703-518-4359 Web site: http://www.schoolventures.com http://www.apsiindex.com

Kristin Simmons of School Ventures, +1-703-518-4359, Kristin@schoolventures.com