As this blog series progresses, we’ve built the case for the importance of impact measurement to organisations, stakeholders, investors and the market. But the actual process of impact measurement may still seem a bit of a ‘black box’. With a variety of approaches offered by organisations on how impact should be measured and managed, it can be confusing to unpick exactly how impact should be measured.

This week, we hope to wade through this confusion to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches and the key factors to consider in impact measurement. The good news is that the market is beginning to develop an agreed set of well thought out standards, the bad news is that a missing factor (or the missing counterfactual) means that many impact measurement results may still be highly misleading.


The story so far…
We’ve come a long way!

As the last blog explained, a growing awareness of the value that impact measurement brings has led to stakeholders developing different approaches to the discipline. The aim is to find an alternative to traditional development programme approach to impact evaluation without the same time burden, rigid evaluation framework or cost, which can be 10-15% of total budgets.

Evolving beyond simple qualitative reports, market leaders have developed an impressive array of frameworks and tools to help track impact. The market is gradually coalescing around a best in class set that include the Impact Management Project’s 5 Dimensions of Impact to assess impact, IRIS+ to find common benchmarked metrics that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and the IFC led Operating Principles for Impact Management, which assess impact manager compliance with best in class frameworks and practices.

Nevertheless, current approaches are still lacking in three complex but significant ways:

1. Beneficiary outcomes – impact measurement often concentrates on the outputs of investees and enterprises, rather than the impact this has on beneficiaries. Organisations may track mosquito nets handed out, without realising they are used for fishing rather than disease control.

2. Negative impacts – investors often track positive outcomes but fail to properly assess and report unintended negative outcomes from investment.

3. Proving additionality – at present, investors make qualitative judgements about whether their investment ‘would have happened anyway’, meaning impact results often confuse correlation with causation. We go into the consequences of this below.


Confusing correlation with causation
Stay with me here..

Correlation between two events simply indicates that a relationship exists, whereas causation more specifically says that one event causes the other. So when impact measurement observes correlations between impact investment and impact performance, this doesn’t imply causation. In reality, omitted variables bias, selection bias and reverse causality may drive a ‘counterfactual effect’, which is the impact that would have happened in the absence of an intervention.

To explain this, the table below may help. It looks at the self reported health status for individuals and whether they have visited a local health clinic that aims to bring essential medical facilities to an underserved rural community.

On the face of it, this table might suggest that health clinics cause people to get sicker. This is, of course, completely wrong, and misses the fact that individuals who attended this health clinic were already less healthy. Statisticians call this ‘selection bias’ and it is the same reason that only studying living people is not a good way to get information on the causes of mortality.

Similarly, a study that tracks individuals over time might find a correlation between poor health and visiting a health clinic, but this would omit things like their immune system, exposure to illness, lifestyle that both a) make people go to hospital and b) increase their chances of getting ill.

In the context of impact funds, the fact that fund managers pick leading examples of impactful businesses may mean they measure the impact of being a competent impact enterprise rather than the impact of the investor. Alternatively, the fact that an investee is on the trajectory toward becoming a profitable, impactful company may cause a fund manager to invest, or invest higher amounts, rather than the reverse.


Our challenge to the market
Plan, measure, analyse, report, evaluate, repeat…

Innovest has developed an impact measurement approach that directly focuses on beneficiary outcomes within the context of their community, using statistical techniques to produce valid estimates of the causes of impact. We believe that, if our impact measurement processes are adopted across the market, it is feasible for impact investors to gain a true quantitative understanding of their impact.

It is only when this practice is adopted widely across the market that we can gain a true understanding of the value and additionality of impact investments. Without it, we risk misallocation of responsible capital into initiatives that have negligible or negative impacts on the populations they are intending to reach.

To encourage alignment across approaches, Innovest has developed a set of key principles that we hope can be adopted irrespective of context:


In this diverse world of impact investment with a myriad of different thematic approaches, the reason for measuring impact is simple. We want to know if what we do works. To do this, we want to find evidence to prove an organisation or business is achieving their stated mission, as predicted in a logical theory of change. We want to use this information to improve impact performance, communicate it to stakeholders and improve credibility among partners and networks.

Doing so can create value for organisations across 7 key areas:

  1. Proving achievement of mission objectives – Social purpose organisations can use measurable outcomes and data collection to confirm progress toward their mission, holding staff accountable to agreed impact targets and redirecting operational strategy to better focus on mission objectives.
  2. Improving impact performance – Assessment of impact performance against an impact measurement framework allows an organisation to review where interventions have met impact expectations on a revolving basis, redesigning their approach to more effectively achieve outcomes. Similarly, a focus on specific outcome targets can drive performance, particularly where there are financial incentives (an emerging range of alternative finance instruments are using performance incentive mechanisms, but that’s a blog for another time).
  3. Communicating to stakeholders – Quantifying social impact in understandable terms creates stakeholder engagement that grows supportive partnerships. Telling a strong story about impact through empirical data adds credibility to an organisation’s mission and values. In a connected, social media-driven landscape, impact measurement can also improve effective marketing and business reputation to create loyalty and trust. 92% of respondents to a recent Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN) survey of impact investors recognises impact measurement as key for communication purposes.
  4. Accountability – Incorporating a robust impact measurement framework ensures expected impact is accurately compared to the cost of delivering a given project. This helps demonstrate that resources are spent on initiatives that provide good value for money.
  5. The Market Demands it – As demographic trends lead to women and millennials having a greater say over investment decisions there has been a rise in socially conscious investors who are keen to support initiatives that can be proven to tackle urgent societal challenges. At the same time, humanitarian and philanthropic donors are looking for greater accountability and governments have moved to pay-for-performance models in the wake of declining trust in the effectiveness of traditional service delivery models. Again, the credibility provided by impact measurement is critical. IMM processes can be a valid signal to a market that an organisation is creating impact that is intentional, additional and has an emerging track record. Impact investors look for investment opportunities that minimise the risk of not achieving impact, and may accept greater financial risk or invest on lower terms as a result. This is the principle that underpins Development Impact Bonds and other pay for performance instruments.
  6. Investors require it – Funders are putting organisations under increasing pressure to use IMM strategies to demonstrate that their activities produce positive change, while providing good value for money. Increasingly, both investors and entrepreneurs are recognising that impact measurement and financial value go hand in hand, a GIIN survey found 59% of impact investors rated impact measurement as very important in enhancing financial performance, with only 3% claiming it was unimportant.
  7. Fund managers may face material risks from not taking it seriously – A failure to articulate expected impact, and to transparently measure and report results to stakeholders may mean fund managers face material reputational risk via accusations of ‘impact washing’. Employing an objective third-party impact advisor such as Innovest to independently verify impact demonstrates the fund’s commitment to credible and robust impact measurement, which admits when impact did not occur or was different than intended. This is most critical for first-time impact fund managers, where rigorously employing an IMM strategy drives accountability and signals intent. Conversely, a well-developed IMM strategy creates opportunities for funds to attract impact-seeking investors who require a clearly articulated impact strategy.

Private wealth managers are increasingly finding that clients’ priorities and expectations are changing. Concerns around the climate crisis, growing inequality across the world combined with millennial values around sustainability gaining prominence are creating greater interest in deploying capital that achieves specific purpose driven outcomes.

Moreover, wealthy millennials tend to take a more targeted and engaged approach to their philanthropic interests than previous generations. At the core of their efforts to achieve impact is a considered and strategic approach around the environmental and social outcomes they intend to achieve through their philanthropic giving and impact investment decisions.

ESG funds can go some way to answer these demands, using both positive and negative screens. Negative screens effectively use risk-based principles to screen out investments which have negative impact, whilst positive screens are used to select investments which represent best performing companies according to Environmental, Social and Governance criteria. However, there is a growing demand from next-generation philanthropists and impact investors for more targeted impact to be achieved through their deployment of capital. That is, impact-first investments or philanthropic donations that are highly intentional and measurable.

This growing market for deep impact investments with measurable outcomes requires specialist skills, bringing together the need for expertise in social and environmental development, finance and technology.

Innovest Advisory is an independent development consultancy firm which provides such services, supporting the design and implementation of market-based solutions for some of the world’s most challenging environmental and social problems.

We partner with families, family offices, foundations, charitable trusts and other stakeholders in the private wealth sector to provide a broad range of impact related services. We assist wealth managers, trustees and advisors in delivering impactful solutions to their clients, through the provision of a team of specialists to support their engagements and solutions. Support includes strategy development, product design, endowment modelling, due diligence, impact measurement and ongoing reporting.

“Historically, we have found private wealth advisors often turning to “cookie-cutter” ESG funds, in response to clients demands for impact solutions, rather than exploring more innovative and deep impact options” said Innovest Advisory, Managing Director Justin Sykes. “A good example of where we have added value has been our engagement with a Swiss based family trust to build a $5 million impact investment portfolio for a next-gen family member. This work included impact investment focussed research, sourcing opportunities screened against a set of co-designed impact investment guidelines, engagement with investors relations leads at the prospection portfolio companies, and generating impact reports for effective measurement and monitoring.”

Innovest is excited to strengthen its private wealth engagement capability by welcoming Philip Faure as an associate in the business.

Philip Faure commented “It’s a real privilege to join a team of such committed and deep specialists in an industry that is fast becoming mainstream. The world needs urgent solutions to address the growing social and environmental challenges that our generation faces. The role of the private wealth sector in funding market-based solutions to address the gaps that governments and development agencies cannot fill is becoming more and more critical. Philip continued, “I have no doubt that Innovest can provide significant support in enabling the private wealth sector to play a major role in addressing these global challenges.”

Responding to Philip’s appointment, Justin Sykes said, “At Innovest Advisory, we believe that it is only through collaboration and partnerships that we can effect the change we urgently need to see in the world. Philip brings new ideas, networks and technical skills which expand our expertise and capabilities enabling us to offer an enhanced service to private clients.”

Impact Measurement and Management has become a hot topic among impact investors, development professionals and impact driven organisations that care about the effect they have on the world around them. But for many businesses, organisations and stakeholders across society, it can be hard to pin down exactly what this seemingly abstract process is.

Well, Impact Measurement is the process of assessing how much social and environmental impact has occurred and the proportion of observed impact that has been caused by an organisation’s actions.

Impact Management is the process of overseeing the creation and measurement of impact, identifying relevant risks that may prevent the achievement of impact and restructuring an organisation’s activities based on results to maximise impact.

Together, Impact Measurement and Management (IMM) is used by impact-driven social enterprises, organisations and investors, to better understand and improve their impact.

Every organisation generates positive and negative impact through their operations, purchases, hiring practices and strategic decisions, but many lack the awareness and expertise to identify these effects.

And yet, times are changing. Increasingly, companies are waking up to the real opportunities to benefit from knowing and communicating impact, and the risks of being associated with the toxic drivers of the world’s largest problems.

According to the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) Reporting Challenge 2019whilst 72% of companies mentioned the SDGs in their reporting, only 1% of the overall are reporting quantitative measures to show their progress towards targets.

Clearly, the demand for IMM is there, but a lack of knowledge and expertise has prevented wide-scale adoption by the market. A huge capability gap exists with much debate ensuing around the “right” way to measure and manage impact.

In Innovest’s latest blog series, we aim to answer some key questions about Impact Measurement and Management and why it is so important for us all to do it. Over the next few months, we’ll be using our industry experience to cover essential topics such as:

Stay tuned for more valuable IMM insights over the next few months.

Displacement is a critical issue, disrupting societies across the world and attracting significant attention from the international community. Indeed, the UNHCR estimates there are over 79 million people displaced worldwide, the largest number since World War II. The problem is most significantly pronounced on the African continent, which hosts over one-third of the global forcibly displaced population. The number includes 17.8 million internally displaced persons, 7.4 million refugees, and 712,000 stateless persons (UNHCR).

In addition, the COVID-19 crisis has further exacerbated the long-term negative conditions endured by vulnerable refugee communities, through the loss of income, employment uncertainty, and decreased allocation of humanitarian budgets – placing them into positions of increasing economic precarity. In these unprecedented times, more significantly than ever before, securing stable formal employment remains problematic for displaced populations, with many dependent on humanitarian aid or engaging in informal sector employment.

Recognising the urgent plight of displaced populations in Africa, two leading displacement focused intermediaries, Innovest Advisory and the Amahoro Coalition, have come together to support the design and implementation of market-based approaches to achieving sustainable livelihoods for displaced Africans.

Both partners recognise the critical role the private sector and private capital have to play in achieving reliable, long-term solutions for displaced persons. Private sector displacement inclusive business and investment models benefit communities twofold, through their ability to educate, train, and employ refugees, and through the provision of products and services that improve their quality of life.

Innovest brings to the partnership its historic experience in refugee inclusive market-based solutions including support to the design of the world’s first displacement inclusive private equity concept with Developing World Markets and a refugee-inclusive SME support technology platform with the International Trade Centre.

Amahoro contributes its expertise and stakeholder commitment to refugee solutions including partnerships with the UNHCR Office for the Horn of Africa, International Rescue Committee (IRC), World Economic Forum, and more. Amahoro is one of the few organisations mobilising the African private sector to be actively involved in refugee economic inclusion. Leveraging its networks and knowledge, Amahoro has supported refugee-focused multilateral organisations in strategically engaging private sector partners.

Innovest and Amahoro will collaborate to design and curate displacement inclusive market-focused projects on the African continent and facilitate their connection with funding and technical support. In addition, Innovest shall formally join the Governing Committee of the Amahoro Coalition and Amahoro will become a regional advisor to Innovest.

“I am delighted to announce this partnership with the Amahoro Coalition,” Justin Sykes, Innovest Advisory Managing Director, said. “As we seek to enable an environment for the deployment of public and private capital and capabilities into livelihoods and local economic development solutions for displaced populations in Africa, partnering with Amahoro their extensive network of business leaders, non-governmental experts and private investors will be invaluable to these efforts.”

According to Amahoro Coalition founder, Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr.,

“Africa’s protracted refugee crisis needs transformative and sustainable solutions to be able to empower these vulnerable communities to access better opportunities. Additionally, we recognize the importance of working with market leaders and other partners in leveraging our collective expertise to address this crisis. We are delighted to bring on board Innovest as one of our partners whose experience is especially valuable as we create and deploy innovative and market-based solutions to empower refugee communities across Africa” 

Isaac Kwaku Fokuo Jr.

About Innovest Advisory

Innovest Advisory is a development consultancy firm that seeks to unleash the power of public and private capital to address some of the world’s most challenging issues. Our mission is to support the creation and scaling of sustainable market-based solutions to development challenges in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Innovest supports public and private impact stakeholders and social impact initiatives with a range of advisory and project management services. On behalf of our clients, we develop innovative funding and development tools leveraging our expansive network that seeks to contribute funding, know-how, and capabilities to achieve agreed development outcomes.

About the Amahoro Coalition 

Amahoro Coalition is an African-led initiative convening business leaders from the region to spearhead the engagement of the private sector in transforming refugee communities. Focusing on education and livelihoods, the Coalition amplifies existing refugee initiatives, stimulates awareness and interest among businesses across the region, generates solutions by facilitating concrete private sector commitments, and serves as a dynamic hub to catalyse policies that encourage companies to integrate refugees within their supply chains.

Innovest recognises the current COVID-19 pandemic threatens an economic downturn not seen since the Great Depression. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that there could be 25 million jobs lost and additional losses in labour income could reach USD 3.4 trillion.

Emerging markets are set to bare the worst of these impacts. Foreign investors have pulled $83bn from emerging markets since the start of the crisis. Many small businesses, the engines of job creation in these markets, already operate at the margins of social protection, and will likely be the most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis negatively.

Through this severe crisis, Innovest Advisory is continuing its support to create and scale sustainable market-based solutions to development challenges aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Innovest works with a broad range of remarkable social enterprises in emerging markets who are having a catalytic impact on the lives of vulnerable populations in developing countries. These businesses include:


Pawame works to electrify and connect the African continent by offering affordable, reliable solar home systems on pay-as-you-go financing. Currently, Pawame operates in 14 Kenyan counties, including in Kakuma refugee camp which houses 120,000 refugees. In the past 3 years, they have reached over 13,000 households and continue to expand their products and services to reach more underserved families


Sierra Agra Inc, Sierra Leone’s only commercial juicing company which supports 3,500 of the country’s poorest smallholder farmers as an exporter of tropical fruit juice products to EU and North American markets. Their latest initiative, Project 10,000, vertically integrates with farming supply chains to pay village-level farmers greater and more reliable incomes.


KIMS Microfinance, which is the Somali market leader in providing sharia compliant microfinance services. Since 2014, KIMS has disbursed over $18m in financing to 18,200 clients. KIMS aims to enhance local economic development in Somalia by providing high-quality diversified microfinance services to low-income, economically active youth, women, displaced and rural communities, offering savings, microenterprise and SME financing. KIMS combines professional service delivery with competitive pricing, innovative products and supplementary non-financial services.


These businesses, whose core business models focus on providing quality products, services and employment for vulnerable, underserved populations, are now exposed to the economic and health impacts of COVID-19.


Pawame has wasted no time in implementing a COVID-19 Response Plan, built around the objective of “Keeping our business, our people, and our customers healthy”. Since masks are now required in public places in Kenya to slow down the spread of COVID-19, Pawame collaborated with staff member, Davis Okoth, to produce masks for the Pawame network. Davis is a talented cloth designer and is currently helping Pawame to distribute “Pawame Davis Masks” to staff, sales agents and technicians along with guidance on how to best use and wear a mask.


Pawame has also set up hand washing stations in many of its county shops, alongside KomeshaCorona health guideline posters. At their Nairobi HQ, almost all staff work at home, with essential operational staff given alternatives to public transport and maintaining social distance in rearranged, segregated work stations.

Emerging markets are set to bare the worst of these impacts. Foreign investors have pulled $83bn from emerging markets since the start of the crisis. Many small businesses, the engines of job creation in these markets, already operate at the margins of social protection, and will likely be the most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis negatively.

Likewise, KIMS Microfinance have drafted a Covid-19 Response plan that assesses health risks to both staff and the enterprises they serve as well as the financial stress it will place on clients businesses and the overall microfinance company. This has resulted in mandatory mask wearing and social distancing practices by KIMS staff, the provision of hygiene advice to clients and an institutional decision to pause all new lending and consider the rescheduling of client payment instalments on a merit basis.

Sierra Agri Inc. has learned from the experience of struggling through the economic impacts of a pandemic, having been formed out of the collapse of a previous business Africa Felix Juices, which went bust in the 2004 Ebola crisis. Prior to joining Sierra Agra as a Board Director and CEO, Stephen Gaojia (pictured right) was the National Ebola Coordinator of Sierra Leone’s battle to end the spread of the disease. He has been recently met with President Bio and his cabinet to offer his insights on how to keep COVID-19 cases at minimum levels. Learning from these lessons Sierra Agra has instituted a social distancing policy at its juicing facility and among its 3,500 network of smallholder farmers. Sierra Leone as a whole has seen low incidence of COVID-19 due in part to the high degree of government and societal mobilisation given the countries experience with Ebola.


These are strong examples of our partners’ adaptability to transform operations to be resilient against the pandemic while continuing to offer vital services to vulnerable populations. However, with the prospect of a prolonged period of lockdown, social distancing and economic shocks in the areas they operate, these businesses are almost certainly going to need additional financial and technical support from the development and impact investment community.


With the right external support and leadership from the likes Pawame, KIMS and SAI , the social enterprise sector can weather this extended shock to continue serving marginalised clients through these unprecedented times.

Find out more about the work of Pawame, KIMS and SAI at their websites:

https://www.pawame.com/

http://sierra-agra.com/

https://www.kimsmfi.com/

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed vulnerabilities in international aid and development finance cooperation, as governments prioritise domestic responses to the pandemic while NGOs and multilateral agencies are unable to effectively implement development projects due to safety concerns.

However, the crisis has also shown that private and public stakeholders are able and willing to collaborate in new ways to alleviate the effects of the pandemic where the need is most urgent; the World Health Organisation (WHO) has created the Solidarity Response Fund at short notice which has raised more than $200 million from private donors, Norway and France have both called for vast aid to be directed to African countries for pandemic response, the IMF has made $1trn in lending available while bolstering its debt forgiveness trust fund and numerous private companies such as Mercedes-Benz, Dyson and Google have begun using their core productive potential to find creative solutions for those in need.


As the threat of COVID-19 forces a new, distanced way of life for citizens across the world, Innovest remains as committed as ever to working with public and private capital to address the world’s most challenging issues in the world’s most vulnerable countries.


This work is desperately needed in these countries. As advanced health systems battle to avoid being overwhelmed by the virus, it is spreading to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries where it may cause far greater destruction. In fragile states, war zones and refugee camps, ‘flattening the curve’ is difficult for the millions that live in crowded conditions without regular access to water for handwashing. Staying at home is not an option for the extreme poor that have no savings to rely on. If they do fall ill, these populations face limited access to health systems that have almost no respiratory capacity.
From Innovest’s new virtual office, our support to develop high quality, market-based solutions with clients has become even more significant as a number of our partners reorganise their operations to offer services that are critical to the response of developing countries to this deadly, global pandemic:

Crown Agents, who are world class logistics and last mile health procurement specialists and were the logistics “spine” of the Ebola response in Sierra Leone in 2014, has an emergency COVID-19 team of over 30 staff across the globe who are working 24 hours a day to respond to the rising global needs, working with the 450 strong global Crown Agents movement.


Since Crown Agents began its COVID-19 Response in early March, it has procured and delivered over 275 tonnes of life saving medical equipment and supplies. It is currently working directly with over 45 countries to support their COVID-19 response, while negotiations are ongoing to expand this service to a group of 13 island nations. Crown Agents are in the process of delivering a shipment of 27 containers of essential supplies such as antibiotics, paracetamol and personal protective equipment to the 800 health clinics they serve under its South Sudan Health Pooled Fund, as well as hygiene and wash posters and the erection of COVID-19 screening tents.

Better Shelter is a humanitarian shelter specialist who provides safe, temporary structures that serve as health care facilities and accommodation for displaced persons all over the world. They have worked with partners such as UNHCR, MSF and UNICEF to establish healthcare clinics for asylum seekers in Mexico, to monitor and treat Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo and to serve primary healthcare needs in Bangladesh. Furthermore, the modular design of their structures enables flexible size and layout depending on facility needs, allowing for smaller healthcare modules that have been identified by authorities globally as key to COVID-19 disease management. In the current crisis they are seeing significant demand for their shelters as COVID-19 screening and isolation units both in refugee and non refugee contexts and in both developing and developed markets. One such example is their partnership with IKEA and the Swedish Red Cross to provide temporary health facilities outside of Swedish hospitals.

Innovest has provided strategic support to both of these organisations to help them efficiently pivot to respond to the crisis, including business and impact strategy, communication of their work, facilitation of capital raising and networking.As the development community races to reorganise operations to mitigate the consequences of Covid-19 among developing countries, these organisations are leading the way in providing support to vulnerable communities and less developed countries. Their experience will be vital as we enter the next phase of this pandemic.

Sierra Agra, based outside of Freetown, Sierra Leone, is the country’s only juice processing company. Sourcing organic mangoes from a network of over 3,500 smallholder farmers. Sierra Agra exports organic juices and concentrates to the global market.

In partnership with Sierra Agra, Woord en Daad and FairMatch Support (FMS), IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative has launched Juice Worth the Squeeze which will engage 7,000 smallholder mango and coconut farmers by end-2020 through scaling Sierra Agra’s smallholder farmer engagement.

Sierra Agra have recently joined IDH’s Sustainable Juice Covenant (SJC), under which member companies commit to a target of 100% sustainable sourcing by 2030, sustainably sourced defined as meeting the requirements of benchmarked social and environmental compliance standards at the farm and processing levels of the supply chain.

Current members of the SJC include some of Europe’s largest juice traders, processors and bottlers; the volume of juice sourced under the SJC in 2017 represents 40% of total European juice consumption. Sierra Agra will be the first African juice processing company to join the Sustainable Juice Covenant.

Innovest Advisory is providing investment readiness and technical assistance support to Sierra Agra.

Innovest partner Pawame Solar, which provides off-grid solar home systems to refugees and the broader host community in Kenya was featured in this article by the Refugee Investment Network (RIN) published by the Standard Social Innovation Review. Innovest is a member of the RIN Advisory Council.

Insurance technology (InsurTech), a new sector in the global startup scene, is attracting a growing number of companies that are revolutionising the world of insurance using new digital technologies. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Innovest’s partner, Democrance is featured in this article by Inside Arabia on its mission to provide insurance to the region’s poor through mobile technology.