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.

Innovest’s microfinance client Kaah International Microfinance Institution [KIMS] was recognised by UNHCR in their article and video about the UN Refugee Agency’s support to refugee returnee livilihoods in Somalia. Their publication followed KIMS win of the $100,000 first prize​ at the EFICA Awards last month.

KIMS is Somalia’s only dedicated, privately owned microfinance institution, providing responsible and Shariah compliant financing and micro-savings to Somali micro and small businesses. Since its launch in 2014, they have provided more than $7 million in life-changing financing to over 8,000 Somalis [including refugee returnees, internally displaced people and groups at risk of leaving the country].

As the implementing partner for the microfinance component of the UNHCR funded project, KIMS was praised for the impact of its programme in giving Somali returnees a chance to rebuild their lives.

FinVention was a one-day event that aimed to showcase the most innovative technological products and services in the FinTech, digital, creative and start-up sectors in Guernsey. Innovest Advisory supported the pitch of Rise Finance, a new Uganda focused FinTech company which is a social business spin-off of the Guernsey charity, This is Epic.

With nearly two billion people globally living without basic financial services today, Innovest Advisory recognises the importance of harnessing private sector funding and technology to develop innovative solutions to increase financial access. Rise Finance seeks to pilot a digital financial services offering in Uganda as a pathway to financial inclusion for those in extreme poverty building on the 18,000 beneficiaries already supported by This is Epic.

Sanabel, the Arab Microfinance network, holds its annual meeting in Beirut 7-8 November 2017. Innovest Advisory will be supporting its partner KIMS Microfinance present on a panel on microfinance and refugee livelihoods as well as engaging with a range of microfinance institutions in the Levant region to determine opportunities to develop lending programmes for refugees.

We, as humans, are causing the problem of climate change. Whereas science cannot give us an exact indication of the predicted consequences, climate change has already started to amplify existing risks, and is creating new ones for us and for natural systems (like food production) upon which we rely. A clear conflict of interest is part of this super-wicked problem as economic development does not equal climate change mitigation. However, as changes will become irreversible and as climate change will disproportionately affect disadvantaged people and communities, addressing inequality (and poverty) is absolutely crucial. Unfortunately, poverty alleviation, often disappears as an explicit priority in the wider concepts like socioeconomic, low-carbon or sustainable development.

“The context in which we must tackle the problems of development and climate is through fighting poverty and inequality”

As Naomi Klein put it: “fighting inequality on every front and through multiple means must be understood as a central strategy in the battle against climate change” (Klein, 2014). However, no single mitigation or adaptation option is likely to be sufficient by itself. This is a collective responsibility that requires collective action.

“We need collective action from across all levels of governance, institutions, organisations, in combination with innovation and impact investments at scale.”

The only solution to the wicked problem of Climate Change is for all parties to participate in the solutions, while ensuring that the poor, who are least responsible for the problem, do not suffer the negative impacts. All who have the capacity to solve the problem should act to do so. This brings us back to addressing equity, which is one of the key principles underpinning the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (United Nations, 1992: Article 3[1]).

The well-known political philosopher, Henry Shue, has pointed to the simple but deep roots of equity: ‘All over the world parents teach their children to clean up their own mess.’ He goes on to point out that if one learns that one cannot walk away from the mess one has created, ‘one is given a strong negative incentive against making messes in the first place’ (Shue, 2009). Climate change is a problem of the concentration of GHG emissions in the atmosphere, which is caused by the stock of cumulative emissions. Cleaning up the ‘mess’ of climate change requires both that states take responsibility for past emissions, which have caused the problem, and that they (and others) do not repeat the mistake.

“The importance of collective action on climate change through the simultaneous alleviation of poverty, promotion of innovation and greater financial inclusion in developing markets remains underestimated.​”

At Innovest Advisory, we work at the nexus between innovative finance and environmental impact in the Impact Investment field. We go beyond negative screening and ESG assessments to look at the true impact of investments and advise both ‘Impact Funders’ and ‘Impact Enterprises’on how capital can address climate change through greater financial inclusion and improving livelihoods in developing markets and fragile contexts.

References

As refugee crises globally become increasingly protracted there is growing consensus on the need to move from a humanitarian response based model to one which takes more of long-term market-based approach to addressing refugee needs. Central to this new doctrine is the need to create jobs for refugees and stimulate economic development in both host and source communities. Significant amounts of capital are now being mobilised for such interventions but a key challenge exists – the lack of credible, commercially viable deal-flow.

At Innovest Advisory we identify initiatives that create sustainable livelihoods for refugees and other forcibly displaced persons as well as seek to stimulate economic development in host communities and fragile and conflict-affected source countries. We place emphasis on micro and small enterprise development interventions as well as skills training, recruitment and job placement, corporate supply chains and infrastructure and public services projects.

We work to facilitate the resources, overcome obstacles, and bring together partners from the public and private sectors, required to maximise the ability of these projects to improve refugee and forced migrant outcomes.

Innovest developed a brochure providing a comprehensive overview of its work in identifing and supporting market-based solutions to the global refugee and forced migration crisis, including three case studies from around the world.

Innovest spoke about improving refugee livelihoods through market-based solutions at the SOCAP conference in San Francisco – where over 3,000 impact investors, entrepreneurs, and social impact leaders gathered to discuss solutions to the world’s toughest social and environmental problems through innovative market-based solutions. Our founder Justin Sykes and Council Michelle McMahon shared their knowledge on market-based solutions to address the global refugee crisis. They presented innovative solutions focussed on improving refugee and migrant livelihoods in Somalia, Turkey and Nigeria.

Innovest Advisory partners Sierra Agra Inc. and KIMS Microfinance were featured as two case studies in this publication from Business Fights Poverty on Doing Business in Challanging Places which was launched at the 2017 United Nations General Assembly. Innovest Advisory was a content partner for this publication.

Innovest Founder Justin Sykes and Project Manager Sanne Schouwenburg recently attended the annual Business Fights Poverty conference at Said Business School in Oxford. This annual event brings together over 200 experts and practitioners from business, civil society, government and academia to take the fight against poverty to a new level. Innovest provided its insight on impact investments in Fragile and Conflict Affected States.