, NAIROBI, Kenya May 7- Equity Bank Group Managing Director James Mwangi has joined a panel of global and continental business and development heavyweights seeking to attract investors to support social investment causes valued at more than a trillion dollars in Africa through Impact Investments.
Impact investing is a new sector that seeks to use for-profit investments to drive a positive impact on social problems, supplementing philanthropy and challenges conventional thinking about how money can be invested.
Speaking when he addressed delegates at the forum Mr Mwangi, who also sits on the Global Agenda Council on Emerging Multinationals, acknowledged that over the next decade, impact investing in clean water, energy and education could hit the $1 trillion mark.
Going forward, he said. it will remain critical for national governments, private sector players and development partners to build a consensus on how growing investment inflows to Africa and other developing regions can be structured to help social ventures improve financial performance while maximizing social impact.
“Social impact investments may require structured participation by governments, philanthropic foundations and impact investors and Equity Bank Group is already working on this front with MasterCard Foundation among others,” Mr Mwangi explained.
In Kenya, the Equity Group Foundation has been spearheading structured Impact Investments in key focus areas such as education, agriculture, environment conservation and SME development through financial literacy programs with investments topping the Sh50 billion mark.
“Players in the financial sector such as banks seeking to make impact investments need to also design products that meet the needs of the poor and are affordable by the low income people,” he said.
He challenged investors to recognise that one can solve the problems of poverty and still be sustainable.
Away from traditional investment avenues, Pension funds, the Equity Bank CEO reiterated also investors stand to reap maximum benefits by engaging in Impact Investing initiatives.
“Besides pension funds, high income people have a particular ability to direct the use of their money towards social enterprises since they are using their own money without the constraints of fiduciary duties to others,” he said.