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News > Funds > Markets and Industry News

SSA to remain significant region for impact investing

Anna Lyudvig
April 8, 2019, 11:07 p.m.

Word count: 443

The impact investing market in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to demonstrate strong momentum, according to Rachel Bass (pictured), Research Manager at The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).

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The impact investing market in Sub-Saharan Africa continues to demonstrate strong momentum, according to Rachel Bass (pictured), Research Manager at The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN).

“Sub-Saharan Africa has long been a region of interest to impact investors. In the latest Annual Impact Investor Survey, we found that investors collectively allocated about 12% of their capital to the region.” 

“In addition to presenting pressing social and environmental challenges, many impact investors perceive a strong commercial opportunity in the region,” she told Africa Global Funds.

“We are seeing growth in activity in the region,” she said, adding that the latest Annual Impact Investor Survey found a 14% annual growth rate in capital allocated to the region among a set of 81 investors over the past five years. 

Among the full sample of 2018 respondents, 44% indicated that they plan to grow their allocations to the region in the year ahead. 

“This likely includes some players that were not previously investing in Africa. This ties with Southeast Asia as the region to which the greatest share of impact investors expect to grow their activity,” explained Bass.
“Other research into East, West, and Southern Africa have found growth in activity during the past decade as well. Additionally, these sub-regional reports detail activities and opportunities at the country levels,” she added.

Earlier this month, the GIIN launched its Core Characteristics of Impact Investing, four tenets that define the growing space of impact investing and will provide financial markets with greater clarity on what constitutes credible impact investing practice.

The Core Characteristics, which have been developed with input from leaders across the impact investing industry, will help investors understand the essential elements of impact investing, define the credibility of their practices, and consider the quality of the practices of potential investment partners.

The central aim of the Core Characteristics is to provide clear reference points and practical actions to establish the baseline expectations for impact investing.

“Our priority is to set appropriate expectations and define practices in a way that is useful to an investor building or deepening an impact investing portfolio, to support greater participation from both new and experienced impact investors,” said Sapna Shah, GIIN Director of Strategy.

“The current impact investing market is estimated to be $502bn, which means trillions of dollars in the capital markets are still sitting on the sidelines, that could be put to work for people and the planet,” she added.

“Given the steady growth and optimism that impact investors have indicated about the region, we expect Sub-Saharan Africa to remain a significant region for the impact investing market,” concluded Bass.

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