Fast-growing private education business Curro Holdings recently announced a plan to establish and run 500 schools in South Africa by 2030. But how many people can afford private schooling? Curro believes there is huge potential for more independent schools to be developed in the country, if international trends are anything to go by. The global trend, according to its latest AGM presentation (and as captured in independent school numbers), indicates that independent schools are moving towards 20% of the total number of schools. In South Africa the figure is closer to 4%. Outgoing CEO Chris van der Merwe said last week that if South Africa followed this trend, there would be potential for many more independent schools to be developed. But filling up school buildings is not as easy as it sounds. Nolwandle Mthombeni, an investment analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said the private education sector's plans to expand were ambitious, but "it's not one of those things the market is ...

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