Safanad and Global School Management Plan Investments of US$200 Million in MENA Education Sector

  • Global education leader announces significant new investment at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) 6, where top industry innovators and investors gather
  • Plans to acquire and develop multiple schools with transactions underway that would immediately add 10,000 new students
  • Strategy builds on growth in demand by families and commitment from governments to expand capacity and quality of private education

26 October, 2022 – Safanad and Global School Management, an international education platform, announced initial planned investment of US$200 million in the region’s education sector and a commitment to invest significantly beyond this to acquire, manage and develop multiple charter, online, early learning, and K-12 private schools independently and in partnership with regional governments. GSM was established in 2014 with Safanad as a founding investor. It has grown to become a global market leader, serving more than 50,000 students across its 165 schools and early learning academies primarily in the US, Europe, and Africa.

The investment was announced during the Future Investment Initiative (FII) 6, where Safanad and GSM are taking part in the three-day global summit, which puts innovation and investment in education high on the program’s agenda as well as a having made it a central pillar of the FII Institute’s “Impact on Humanity”.

GSM is finalizing transactions to acquire several schools in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, where GSM already operates iCademy Middle East, the premier, accredited, K-12 American online school based in Dubai with a blended learning model. These acquisitions would immediately add approximately 10,000 additional students into the platform. GSM recently acquired BBD Education in Dubai a premier provider of professional education services and management for the growing schools market in the GCC.

Kamal Bahamdan, Founder and CEO of Safanad, said, “We are delighted that GSM is significantly expanding its presence in the MENA region and to be announcing it during FII 6 , an event that promotes growth in vital sectors such as education and where notable global education peers and innovators have gathered to discuss the future of the industry. GSM will bring international best practice in education and leverage its innovative technologies and capabilities around school management and development to help expand capacity and enhance the quality of education available in this market. This milestone also forms part of our broader strategy to establish a dedicated, regionally focused investment arm, Safanad MENA, through which we can deploy our expertise and capital into a number of priority, high-impact sectors. This is the first of multiple platforms we plan in areas where we have built market-leadership in the US and Europe and can use our global know-how and network to replicate success and accelerate growth regionally. Beyond education, this includes healthcare and digital infrastructure, among others. We are excited to begin this next phase of growth for Safanad and GSM in the MENA region and look forward to the contributions we can make to the development of the education sector and beyond.”

Ron Packard, CEO of GSM, added, “Through our subsidiary GSM Middle East, we are strategically positioned to expand our presence in a fast-growing education market were students want a high quality international education. We are close to completing a number of transactions in the region, which would significantly grow our global student base, while pursuing further acquisitions and the development of new international private schools and early learning academies. We also hope to serve as a strategic partner to regional governments by cooperating with them in public private partnership initiatives. We see long-term opportunity for private international education in MENA, where there is strong demand from families for a high-calibre education and a commitment from governments to ensure these needs are met. With a seasoned team of experts with deep local knowledge and a track record of success across continents, we look forward to broadening access to world-class international education for students in the region.”