Development Finance – one of the keys to unlocking Africa’s potential Stellenbosch Business School Skip to main content
Some define development finance simply as the sourcing of money, in the form of loans, to fund a project.

Understanding Development Finance

These projects could be across a variety of industries. For example, one could seek funds to build a new library, remodel a park, build a road or assist an entrepreneur with growing a small business.

What some fail to focus on is the importance of development finance as a tool for social growth – uplifting people should always be a critical factor. Africa needs development financiers who understand this important distinction.

Development Finance in Africa

When it comes to development finance in Africa, the news is mixed. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa report Development financing in Africa recognises that things are improving, with many governments across the continent becoming increasingly self-reliant and responsible:

Africa remains a continent with urgent development needs, but it is now also a continent that is relying more on its domestic resources and where international support will be channelled for structural transformation and inclusive growth. African Governments know that they are responsible for their countries’ development and that financing for development is as much about their own actions as it is about international support (Carter & Tyson, 2017, Development financing in Africa, pg. 2)

The report goes on to highlight that, unfortunately, Africa is the only continent where a growing number of people live in extreme poverty (Carter & Tyson, 2017, Development financing in Africa, Introduction, pg. 4, para. 1), and that Africa is still struggling to meet some of the targets set in the Sustainable Development Goals (an arguably flawed, but still important UN initiative) (Carter & Tyson, 2017, Development financing in Africa, Introduction, 4). Development finance has a critical role in helping African governments overcome these issues.

Kolapo Joseph is the General Manager for Corporate Finance Development at North South Power, a Nigerian energy company with a pan-African focus. He gets more specific about the challenges African countries face when it comes to development finance in an interview with CNBC Africa entitled The Importance of Development Finance in Africa. For example, he discusses how the exchange rate, and fluctuations in the exchange rate, can impact your long-term financing. He goes into how working on agreements around development financing can take a long time to conclude, and how it can be difficult to meet the requirements set down in these agreements. He also highlights how they have come up with a solution:

… we’ve gone ahead to pursue a bond, in which we’ll be getting credit enhancements for the DFIs. So that means we’ve taken out the concern of the foreign exchange risk, but we’ve also made sure we tapped into the local capital markets to be able to do this.” (CNBCAfrica, The importance of development finance in Africa, 2017, 4:54)


This brief look at Africa highlights a fraction of the challenges of this continent when it comes to uplifting its people and the role development finance has to play. It also covers how development financiers require a unique understanding of the local situation in order to overcome these challenges.

The University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) is the first triple-accredited African institution dedicated to equipping learners with the knowledge to solve not only these uniquely African difficulties, but also other global development finance problems. Here is how Stellenbosch Business School’s development finance programmes can help you:

Development Finance at Stellenbosch Business School

At Stellenbosch Business School, our Development Finance programme offers three paths that provide learners with the ability to develop solutions and thrive on both a local African and international stage.

PGD in Development Finance

The PGD in Development Finance is aimed at learners who have a deep interest in African growth by focusing on financial development skills that are applicable to both the public and private sector. This postgraduate diploma is offered in a modular format over a single year. This course will help you implement financial programmes that assist with the growth of SMEs, as well as the development of infrastructure, such as dams, roads and schools.

This course will provide you with the knowledge you need to:

  • Develop financial solutions for the African context – Africa, like many other developing countries has unique problems that need specific approaches in order to enhance growth
  • Understand how to implement these solutions sustainably – An approach needs to be implemented that factors in long-term sustainability
  • Mould financial development policies and projects – You will not only gain the skills you need to develop these policies and projects, but also ensure that they are implemented correctly
  • Contribute towards development finance issues in your workplace – This course will provide you with the ability to assist with financial and operational development finance issues in your workplace. It will also give you a general understanding of development and finance at smaller enterprises.

The PGD in Development Finance is aimed at junior or mid-level managers who are pursuing a career in the financial services industry or public institutions.

Find out more about the course here.

MPhil in Development Finance

The MPhil in Development Finance equips you with a greater range of specialist skills at a Master’s level. This course will provide you with the necessary knowledge to fill a senior role in policy-making in the financial industry, helping you pave the way for growth in Africa.

This course will provide you with the knowledge to:

  • Create unique solutions for challenges that affect Africa and other developing countries – Development finance in the context of Africa and other developing countries requires an understanding of local challenges
  • Implement a sustainable approach towards development – Policies need to ensure that development is impactful and effective, while still being sustainable in the long term
  • Build financial policies and programmes that address the needs of the people – By correctly understanding the people, you will be able to shape financial policies and programmes that are directly relevant to their needs
  • Learn relevant critical skills – This includes economic development perspectives in Africa, project finance, microfinance, and governance and ethics
  • Undertake in-depth research – Learn how to undertake critical research that addresses the challenges related to development finance, and that allows you to make better decisions at a managerial level

The MPhil in Development Finance will add value to individuals at a managerial level in the financial services industry, particularly if they are analysts or policy makers who deal with challenges in developing countries and emerging markets.

Find out more about the course here.

PhD in Development Finance

The PhD in Development Finance is the first PhD offered in this field in Africa. This PhD is aimed at individuals who wish to contribute to research around financial development in Africa. This level of qualification will equip you with an even deeper understanding of development finance, enhancing your employability in senior positions across a variety of policy-making institutions. It will establish you as an expert in this field.

Find out more about the course here.

If you’ve taken a look at what Stellenbosch Business School’s Development Finance programme has to offer and still need assistance, do not hesitate to contact us today. Our staff are ready to answer your queries and help you on your path to helping Africa achieve its true potential.

The Stellenbosch Business School also has a range of online postgraduate diplomas designed in such a way that you can study while you work, including a post graduate diploma in Nigeria, offered through the University of Stellenbosch Business School.

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