As impact investing gains momentum worldwide, Intellidex has launched the inaugural Africa Impact Investment Awards.
The project is being conducted in partnership with the African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, ANDE West Africa, Impact Investing Ghana, Impact Investing South Africa, the national advisory boards for impacting investing of both Nigeria and Zambia, and the Southern African Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.
“We’re introducing the awards to recognise organisations across Africa that are doing valuable work at the intersection of finance and social development,” says Dr Graunt Kruger, managing director of Intellidex. “If we want transformation, we need to encourage investment in transformational businesses, especially now when public resources have proven insufficient to ensure a decent standard of living for all.”
Impact investing, a term that describes investments intended to deliver measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return, opens up a new world of possibilities for investors. It is a critical way to support innovative development across the continent that tackles poverty and hunger, boosts job creation, improves social conditions and addresses inequality.
Among the direct effects of impact investing are that it makes more resources available from more stakeholders; it increases the scale of private capital deployed to social and environmental causes where they are most needed and, by rigorously measuring impact, it improves the efficacy with which funds are deployed.
Indirectly but equally significant, impact investing highlights best practice, supports market development and inspires more investors to join what is now a fast-growing movement. This, in turn, facilitates greater access to capital, particularly for smaller social enterprises that are struggling the most in the current climate.
“Impact investing may be relatively new to Africa, but Africans are nothing if not innovative,” says Kruger. “There are already plenty of success stories that highlight our continent’s inventiveness. We know from other markets that focusing on impact investing will increase interest and engagement.”
The inaugural Africa Impact Investment Awards offers 10 categories for entry :
- Project of the Year
Awarded to an impact initiative that demonstrates significant potential as a viable financial investment that also meaningfully improves social and/or environmental outcomes.
- Social Entrepreneur/Implementor of the Year
Awarded to the owner of a social enterprise, non-profit organisation or implementing partner that can demonstrate financial sustainability at the same time that the enterprise’s products and services contribute to measurable and verifiable social and/or environmental impacts.
- Project Developer of the Year
Awarded to entities that initiate projects and create the opportunity for social and/or environmental impact by other stakeholders.
- Impact Financial Instrument of the Year
This award is specifically for the innovative financial instruments that form the underlying structure for impact investments, for example:
- Funding instruments aimed at institutional funders;
- Impact delivery instruments to separate out innovation at large-scale funding level; and
- Innovation in lending schemes to targeted beneficiaries.
- Impact Asset Owner of the Year
This award recognises asset owners and investors that deploy their capital into impact investments and can include pension funds, corporations, banks, governments and development finance institutions.
- Philanthropist of the Year
Philanthropists deploying capital in innovative ways will be recognised with this award. High net-worth individuals, trusts and foundations will be eligible for consideration.
- Impact Asset Manager of the Year
This award is for impact-oriented investment houses placing or allocating impact capital.
- Impact Fund of the Year
This award recognises fund managers that have a dedicated impact investment fund within their overall portfolio.
- Impact Market Builder of the Year
Impact investments require major effort from market enablers. This award will recognise those enablers such as government departments, research firms, consulting firms, policy think-tanks or professional services companies that promote impact investments through thought leadership, project implementation and advisory work.
- Outstanding Individual Achievement of the Year
This award recognises an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the past year to support the growth of the impact investments.
Any organisation or individual can submit entries. Entrants can submit for more than one category and must be registered in Africa, headquartered in Africa or have operations on the continent.
The following activities are excluded:
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives
- Investments that are not explicitly planned and measured for impact
- Investments that do not offer financial returns
The deadline for submissions is 31 March 2023. The awards will be announced on 13 July 2023 at an event in Cape Town.
Visit the Intellidex Africa Impact Investment Awards page for more information.