hen inquired about social benefits, almost every investment firm will mention that “we create jobs” and will be certainly correct. However, we think that the social benefits of our work reach well beyond just creation of employment opportunities.
Beyond solely creating employment opportunities for the local population, we look at our business ventures has having social benefits in providing new skills and vocational know-how to locals. Most of our projects, including even our agribusiness ventures, involve positions that require a level of technological acumen. We are keen to train our workforce in these skills both for successful operation of our businesses as well as for the good of their own careers.
As many of our enterprises expand beyond their original project sizes, we will be creating opportunities for advancement and career growth for our employees, coupled with incentive-based compensation and profit-sharing schemes. We view the development of our staff as a key priority both for ensuring the success of our businesses, which need skilled and motivated operators, as well as a human capital investment into the local population which we are glad to make.
Likewise, many of our business ventures include management positions that demand higher and advanced education degrees. By opening these opportunities, we are encouraging local talent to stay and prosper in their home countries and communities rather than migrating abroad to fully utilize their education and seek economic welfare. There is already a trend of more and more African professionals (including ones with Engineering degrees and MBAs) to return “home” even after obtaining their education abroad. We are glad to contribute to this tendency.
Impact Investing: Complementary to Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)
Despite similarities between Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Impact Investing, there are also some important differences:
- SRI has traditionally employed “negative screens” to rule out companies with harmful externalities: tobacco/alcohol industry, major polluters, etc.
- Many SRI investors engage in shareholder activism to change corporate behavior perceived as detrimental to society
- Increasingly, SRI investors also seek to integrate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues into their investment analysis, decision-making, and asset management process
Impact investing builds on the fundamentals of SRI and ESG screens to deploy capital in profitable companies that:
- Intentionally identify and seek positive social and/or environmental benefits
- Commit to actively measuring, reporting and improving impact performance over time
The Impact Investing Spectrum: