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International recognition for Africa’s first Development Finance Centre

Publish date:2016-12-13

The GSB’s Master’s in Development Finance has been named the best Master’s degree in the field of Corporate Finance in Africa by education ratings agency Eduniversal in its 2016 ranking of business schools and degree programmes around the world – an achievement that brings fresh honours to the school.

“The GSB is honoured and delighted by the award,” says GSB Acting Director, Professor Geoff Bick. “Considering that the Development Finance Centre that hosts this degree is not even one year old, this is a tremendous achievement that shows international recognition and support for the ground breaking work it is doing.”

The Development Finance Centre (DEFIC) was launched in January 2016, becoming the first institution of its kind in Africa aimed at growing local and international development finance expertise in emerging markets and supporting the creation of innovative financial models for sustainable development solutions in Africa and other similar markets. The Master’s degree that forms a core part of the centre’s work was established a few years ago as a precursor to the centre and was the first degree of its kind to be launched on the continent.

“There was a dearth of knowledge on financial development in emerging markets and a big need for capacity building and research in this field,” says DEFIC Director, Professor Nicholas Biekpe. “We know a lot about financial development in the developed world, but this is not applicable to the developing world and to what we are seeing in Africa.”

He adds that the challenges facing the financial development world in Africa are vastly different to those in developed countries. “Officials here are struggling with everyday challenges of making finance work in Africa. Matters like corporate governance are not the same here as in the European Union, for instance. We try to bridge that gap, by showing how financial development could and should evolve in emerging markets.”

The current MCom in Developmental Finance – a partnership programme between the GSB and the Africagrowth Institute (AGI), an independent organisation providing research and consulting on growth opportunities in Africa – was designed in collaboration with economic clusters of governments, ,  development finance institutions and other emerging financial sector  institutions to find out what the industry needed in terms of training and education.

“We set out to build a programme that was useful,” says Professor Biekpe. “This meant it had to be relevant. It couldn’t be all theory. People want to see how things happen in practice, what the solutions have been in real situations. In addition, the programme is a professional qualification.”

A big component of the course is the introduction of local case studies as well as bringing in speakers from the development finance industry in Africa, to give insight into how people are dealing with real life situations. “What works in London, may not work in Cape Town or Nairobi or Accra,” reiterates Professor Biekpe.

The new centre will build on and augment this work – notably with the organisation of conferences, forums and workshops that will bring together development finance practitioners from all over the world to encourage knowledge sharing and promote the public understanding of development finance. The centre will also begin generating its own case studies from 2017 and bolster the production and publication of research related to development finance – specifically the role of Development Finance Institutions on the continent.

The DEFIC has partnerships or links  with other leading universities like the University of Manchester, the University of Reading and the School of Oriental and African Studies in the UK, as well as the University of Ghana, KCA University in Kenya and Stellenbosch University and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa.

The Eduniversal award for the MCom degree comes shortly after it was announced that the GSB was Eduversal’s top business school in Africa for a ninth consecutive year.

“It has been a terrific year for the GSB,” acknowledges Professor Bick. “We celebrated our 50th anniversary as well as these awards and a number of other achievements. This latest award is a wonderful way to end an already very successful year.”


Issued by: Rothko PR on behalf of the UCT Graduate School of Business

Contact details: Inshaaf Ahmed, 021 448 9457 Rothko PR, 225 Lower Main Road, Observatory, Cape Town




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