CAO Cases

Arne Hoel, The World Bank

Sub-Saharan Africa

Kenya / Bridge International Academies-04/Vice President request

Complainant
CAO Vice President Request
Date Filed
September 03, 2020
Concerns
Child Abuse
Case Status
Open - Compliance
 

Synopsis

Project Overview 

IFC has an active project with Bridge International Academies (the “Company”), Africa’s largest chain of low-cost schools. According to IFC, at the time of its investment in 2014, the Company operated 211 schools serving over 57,000 students in Kenya and aims to provide quality education to children from families earning less than US$2 per person per day. The investment was intended to support an increase in the number of schools in Kenya and expansion to 3 new countries.

 

CAO Initiated Compliance Appraisal

In April 2018, CAO received a complaint from the East Africa Centre for Human Rights, a Kenyan NGO, on behalf of current and former parents and teachers regarding IFC’s investment in the Company in Kenya (the BIA-01 case). The BIA-01 complaint was transferred to CAO’s compliance function for appraisal and CAO initiated an investigation in October 2019. In the course of the BIA-01 compliance investigation CAO became aware of several allegations of child sexual abuse at the Company’s schools. In September 2020, the CAO Vice President requested that CAO consider these issues in a compliance appraisal.

 

CAO’s compliance appraisal does not make any findings in relation to the Company or the impacts of the project. The question at this point is whether a preliminary review of available information raises substantial concerns regarding the E&S outcomes of IFC’s investment and non-compliance by IFC, such that require further investigation by CAO.

 

CAO’s initial review of the project documentation raises questions as to whether IFC’s pre-investment review and subsequent supervision of the project properly considered the requirements of Performance Standards 1 and 4 as relevant to child safeguarding and protection risks. 

 

Overall, CAO has determined that an investigation is an appropriate response to the issues raised in the Vice President’s request. In making this decision, CAO has taken into account the seriousness of the risks and impacts raised as well as the above compliance questions. 


Status 

Further details of the investigation scope will be set out in the investigation Terms of Reference, to be prepared in accordance with CAO’s Operational Guidelines. CAO expects to complete its investigation by December 2021.

Project information

Institution
IFC
Project Name & Number
Bridge International Academies 32171
Department
Global Manufacturing & Services
Company
NewGlobe Schools Inc
Sector
Education Services
Region
Sub-Saharan Africa
Country
Kenya
Environmental Category
B
Commitment
USD 10 million equity investment

Case Tracker

Ombudsman

Compliance

  • Under Appraisal: Completed
  • Under Audit: In Process