Actis-backed education platform, Honoris United Universities, extends pan-African leadership via entry into Egypt

Honoris bolsters its impact in Africa by welcoming Merit University to its network at closing

Cairo – December 22, 2021 Honoris United Universities, majority-owned by leading global investment firm Actis, announced today its latest expansion by signing definitive transaction documents (subject to regulatory approvals) to acquire Merit University, the leading private university in New Sohag City, Egypt.

Honoris is the first and largest pan-African network of high-quality private higher education institutions across Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, Southern Africa and Mauritius that encompass over 61,000 students, united by an unrelenting commitment to preparing world-class African talent for the jobs of tomorrow.

The acquisition of Merit marks Honoris’ entry into the Egyptian higher education market, the largest market in Africa with more than 3 million enrolled students. This strategic partnership will allow Honoris and Merit to respond to the increasing demand in high-quality education in Egypt through the provision of quality education with a focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Founded in 2019, Merit currently operates 3 faculties, namely Medicine, Pharmacy and Physiotherapy. These faculties accelerate and strengthen the focus on the health sciences vertical within Honoris, becoming the second member institution with a dedicated faculty of Medicine, after Nile University of Nigeria. As one of only four private universities operating in Upper Egypt, and the only one in the Sohag Governorate, Merit is poised to strongly contribute to scientific research, community development and the preparation of worldclass Egyptian talent. Since inception, Merit has entered into partnerships with institutions such as Sohag
University and fostered academic ties and collaboration with universities in the UK, the US and Australia.

Commenting on the announcement, CEO of Honoris, Dr. Jonathan Louw, said, “This is an incredibly exciting acquisition for Honoris as we enter this strategically important country for education in Africa. As Merit joins our Education for Impact mission, we will continue to support its focus on STEM whilst combining it with the shared expertise of our network of outstanding institutions. Given Egypt’s significant potential and strength in higher education, we are pleased to be making this investment in the educational system of the country.”

Speaking from a wealth of 50 years of academic and university leadership, Merit’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Seddik Afifi, added, “Becoming part of the Honoris family will significantly add to the value proposition for our students and build the academic strength of our current and planned faculties. Honoris is uniquely positioned to transfer the know-how needed for the development plans of Merit to satisfy the increasing demand for high quality private education in Upper Egypt. New Sohag City is an increasingly important region for the development of Upper Egypt, and the proven track record of Honoris in advancing education in Africa and its focus on employability will undoubtedly enrich our students’ experience as they prepare to enter an increasingly competitive job market.”

Dr. Sherif ElKholy, Partner and Head of the Middle East and North Africa at Actis and member of the board of directors of Honoris, commented, “Egypt is a top priority market for Actis where we have enjoyed strong successes over the many years of investing in the country. Honoris’ growth plans have the full backing of Actis, and entering the Egyptian higher education market has been for a while a strategic priority for Honoris. We are delighted to have found such a high-quality university like Merit to kick start our ambitious plans for the Egyptian market, and we look forward to working with the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education to bring this important transaction to a successful completion in order to start our development and expansion plans for Merit in a timely manner.”