On the surface, India’s impact investing ecosystem is thriving. There is high activity with deals happening across sectors and enterprise stages. At the same time, the narrative on impact investing has primarily been centered on capital supply and many investors in India have focused on achieving market-rate returns. This focus on returns left us wondering: are there areas currently not benefitting from this dynamic market?
Spotlight on Whole Planet Foundation's Bold, New Partnerships, by Claire Kelly
According to Women’s World Banking, “Women in Bangladesh have the highest-ever rates of literacy and employment, and the country’s economy is growing. Financial inclusion now stands at more than 50 percent, nearly doubling in the past few years. But the financial inclusion gender gap is growing rapidly too, with fewer than half of women accessing or using formal financial services.”
The financial technology, or fintech, revolution is gaining momentum in the MENA (Middle East/North Africa) region. Fintech investments in MENA totaled $18 million in 2016. In 2017, that figure was surpassed by a single $20 million round raised by the payment platform Paytabs, leading to heightened interest among investors: Wamda Research Lab, for example, puts total 2017 fintech investments in MENA at more than $50 million, a 270 percent year-over-year increase.
Mohammed Ali and his siblings had been driving past the vacant gas station on the east side of Saint Paul, Minnesota for years before they finally decided to make an offer to buy it—with the idea of opening a restaurant and grocery store catering to the neighborhood’s vibrant community of immigrants.