Mauritius-Based University Raises $30M From Danish Billionaire To Train Future African Tech Leaders

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

The African Leadership University has raised $30 million in Series B funding from Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen to expand the institution’s graduate program across the continent.

The funding will enable the Mauritius-based institution to make their leadership-focused graduate programs available to more young Africans, according to Quartz.

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There are plans for the organization’s lifelong learning centers to launch in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos and Casablanca this year, and the new infusion of capital will assist the educational institute with this expansion.

This follows the successful launch of the program in Nairobi last year, building on campuses which are already operational in Mauritius and Rwanda.

Danish billionaire backing African education

Angel investor Povlsen is the owner and CEO of Bestseller, a clothing and accessories company founded in Denmark in 1975.

The brand’s products are available through more than 3,000 branded chain stores across 38 markets worldwide, as well as online via e-commerce, according to Crunchbase.

His investment in the African Leadership University is made up of $28.2 million in new cash and $2.5 million in convertible debt.

Danish billionaire
The African Leadership University hopes to impact the lives of Africans across the continent. Image – AP – Jerome Delay

The last three years have been positive for the university, with $80 million in funding raised, including $50 million in venture funding, according to AfricanExponent.

Some of the investors involved include the Omidyar Network and founder of Peninsula Capital Partners, Bob King.

The new funding will see $20 million dedicated to its real estate arm which builds campus properties, while another $10 million is earmarked for its student finance program, ImpactAlpha reports.

The African Leadership University’s expansion into other parts of Africa is part of the organization’s aim to teach three million African leaders by 2035.

Programs available through the university include six-month courses designed for university graduates and other experienced workers who wish to learn important leadership and technical skills.

These skills are specifically designed to make the students highly employable once they have completed the courses, with subjects including data science and operational management.

The university also takes an innovative approach to the student finance consideration, providing a program that is designed to fund students by taking an equity stake in their future, according to Morebranches.

This means that the students will have their studying funded, and then once the graduate and find work, a fixed percentage of their income over a five to 10-year period will be collected by the university.

In the case of a graduate that is not employed for whatever reason, they do not have to pay back any money until they are once again employed.