Innovest and the Amahoro Coalition supporting refugees in Africa
Justin Sykes - July 14, 2020
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.