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IFC Invests in Affero Lab to Expand Access to Lifelong Job Skills Training in Brazil

3 June 2015

(Press Release) IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and a fund managed by the IFC Asset Management Company announced an equity investment in Affero Lab, a leading provider of corporate training in Brazil. IFC’s investment to support expansion of this innovative digital market leader will enable more Brazilian workers to upgrade skills and expertise, and make their employers more competitive.

Bertelsmann SE & Co. KGaA, a diversified, German media and services conglomerate with operations in about 50 countries around the world, will join IFC and the IFC African, Latin American, and Caribbean Fund (IFC ALAC Fund) to invest in Affero Lab’s future growth. Bertelsmann will take a 40 percent stake in Affero Lab, while IFC and IFC ALAC Fund will hold a little over 30 percent between them. The remaining shares will be held by the company’s founders and management.

Brazil needs a more productive labor force with better skills to regain its economic growth trajectory, provide sustainable jobs, and improve its socioeconomic and development indicators. According to a study by Manpower Associates, 57 percent of employers in Brazil are unable to find the skilled workers they need to operate their business. Affero Lab is a growing company which helps its clients retain valued staff by providing opportunities for employees to grow and become more productive in the workplace.

Alexandre Santille, Affero Lab CEO, said the company’s expansion plan includes development of new learning technologies as well as new acquisitions and expansion of its international operations. “Now we have working alongside us companies that share the same educational values and strategy we do, and also have access to global management models. Evolution in the education sector requires ongoing innovation and major investment in new technologies. We are excited that Bertelsmann and IFC have chosen to partner with Affero Lab in the region and believe that this fresh investment will help accelerate our expansion. This underscores our belief that we are on the right track”, said Santille.

“Investment in human capital enhances productivity and promotes prosperity in developing countries. This investment in Affero Lab will help the company grow further, increase access to job skills training, and help companies create the highly skilled workforce with access to lifelong learning opportunities they need to successfully compete in a 21st century economy,” said IFC CEO Jin-Yong Cai.

“Bertelsmann is making great progress in Brazil. The investment in Affero Lab addresses two of Bertelsmann’s global strategic objectives: expansion in Brazil and in Education,” explained Fernando Carro, President Latin America and Spain and member of the Group Management Committee of Bertelsmann. He continued: “Our investment in Affero Lab is another important step on our path to make the education business a third mainstay of business for Bertelsmann alongside media and services.”

IFC is the largest multilateral investor in private education in emerging markets. Over the past 15 years, IFC has invested $1.3 billion in education projects in 33 countries. In fiscal year 2014, IFC’s investments improved quality of education for over 2.5 million students in developing countries. Alongside investing in private institutions, IFC also supports providers of student finance. In the last five years, IFC has invested $200 million in education projects in Brazil.