Achieving a positive economic and social impact with our investments is one of our key priorities, and is as important as generating attractive investment returns for our investors. In the spectrum of impact investing, we consider ourselves to be in the middle segment with an even emphasis on both financial returns and development benefits. Our belief is that the two are fundamentally interlinked and the width and breadth of economic and social impact cannot be achieved by only providing strong economic incentives to a project’s financial stakeholders alone.
We see a correlation of impact and business metrics in businesses with strong fundamentals and the scaling of impact as businesses scale, not just in jobs creation and direct services provided for the host community, but in lives touched and improved through better economic outcomes up and down the value chain.
At the same time, we do realize that not all investments are the same in their level of social impact. Two projects with the same level of capital expenditures and target returns can have drastically different levels of impact on the countries and communities they are based in, and that impact is not necessarily always positive. Thus, in our investment selection process, we seek to focus on projects that create long-term value and competitive advantages for the areas we work in and provide a net inflow of economic assets versus purely extraction-focused ventures. Likewise, we also focus on projects that create economic assets directly, such as ones in healthcare and education, which most directly benefit the needs of growing populations.
Our end goal is to contribute to turning West African countries from their historical economic state as pure commodity exporters into strong economies with industries providing substantial value-adds and being competitive on the global markets, empowered consumers, and a growing middle class.