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Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 16 January 2024 – The World Economic Forum’s Humanitarian and Resilience Investing (HRI) Initiative announced today that significant progress has been made in the international effort to mobilize $10 billion to enable 1,000 businesses in frontier markets to scale their operations by 2030. Over 40 partners announced more than 50 commitments to boost impact investment in frontier markets that have the potential to unlock over $15 billion in commercial and catalytic capital.
These commitments follow a Call to Action, announced in September 2023, which aims to respond to the systemic challenges faced by 2 billion people globally living in poverty and insecurity and increase the resilience of at-risk and crisis-hit communities.
“The range of commitments from various stakeholder groups in response to the Call to Action is remarkable," said Mirek Dušek, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum. “We have the opportunity to build momentum across sectors and demonstrate the impact and financial potential for investment at scale in frontier markets.”
The HRI Initiative is also launching three new collaborative actions that will build and mature selected frontier markets, scale action at the intersection of climate and humanitarian impact, and cultivate co-investment in purpose-driven businesses in frontier markets. Other key commitments include the launch of new funds and financing mechanisms, updated strategies and roadmaps, programmes to help build enabling market conditions, efforts to drive further market transparency, and initiatives to develop and harmonize new impact measurement methodologies.
”Sustainable change and measurable impact can only be built through collective and concerted action by key private and public stakeholders,” said Peter Maurer, Co-Chair of the HRI Initiative. “Market-driven solutions can strengthen local economies, respond to the systemic challenges faced by communities living in extreme poverty, and reduce aid dependency.”
Actions launched by the initiative include:
Building and maturing selecting frontier markets
Spearheaded by the governments of Kenya and the United States as well as top organizations – including the African Development Bank (AfDB), Bamboo Capital Partners, CrossBoundary, IKEA Foundation, ODI and World Bank Group – are coming together to support favourable market conditions to pilot a new approach to help scale a pipeline of businesses in northern Kenya. The HRI Initiative, together with its Call to Action partners, plans to implement this approach in nine additional frontier markets by 2030.
“Kenya’s new refugee policy presents an opportunity to do things differently and to look beyond traditional humanitarian donors and agencies, to a broad coalition of development agencies, private sector actors, civil society and refugees themselves to respond to crises more sustainably,” said Kithure Kindiki, Cabinet Secretary for Interior and National Administration of Kenya.
Scaling action at the intersection of climate and humanitarian impact
The HRI Initiative and the Forum’s Giving to Amplify Earth Action (GAEA) are announcing a new multistakeholder partnership to convene private-public-philanthropic partnerships to support and scale projects addressing the impacts of the global climate and nature crisis on vulnerable communities. Supporting organizations include Acumen, Bamboo Capital Partners, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and Vital Capital Environment.
“By making resources available for market-driven solutions in frontier markets, we not only enhance the resilience of at-risk communities, but also contribute to the global effort to mitigate the impact of climate change,” said Jessica Anderen, Chief Executive Officer of the IKEA Foundation.
Cultivating co-investment in purpose-driven businesses
The HRI Initiative is partnering with AVCA – The African Private Capital Association, Collaborative for Frontier Finance (CFF), elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalization, Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), Global Private Capital Association (GPCA), Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) and KOIS and to launch a new area of work facilitating collaboration along the continuum of impact investments. These organizations together reach over 1,000 capital providers globally investing in impact.
“Achieving impact for the most vulnerable communities will require investment to go into areas where it has not historically gone. For us to be successful, it is critical to expand frontier finance and help develop financing and partnership models adapted to the unique conditions of these markets” said Amit Bouri, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of GIIN.
HRI Initiative partner-led actions include:
Developing the market of impact-linked finance
The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and Roots of Impact have launched an initiative to enhance the impact-linked finance (ILF) market, standardizing and regulating operations to channel private investments to previously unreached areas and outcomes. The vision is for more organizations to join this collaborative effort to make ILF a standard practice and channel private investments to investees, areas and outcomes that would otherwise not have been reached.
“We believe ILF has the potential to attract greater private investment into socially and ecologically driven enterprises, to increase their impact and reach more vulnerable groups,” said Patricia Danzi, Director-General of SDC.
Catalysing a market for peace-positive investment
Peace-positive investment can de-risk investments in emerging markets and fragile settings for both investors and communities. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Interpeace have called upon partners to join forces to create standards, develop market intelligence, facilitate partnerships across sectors, share knowledge, and jointly create a pipeline of peace positive sovereign and non-sovereign operations.
“We need to pursue efforts to support peace and security on the continent with more innovative approaches so that we can more effectively mitigate structural drivers of violence and conflict leading to fragility and humanitarian crises. Strengthening existing partnerships and forming new ones across the Humanitarian-Development-Peace nexus is critical to achieving this, and the African Development Bank has been at the forefront of this endeavor” said Marie Laure Akin-Olugbade, Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery of the AfDB.
Additional participating organizations include:
AfricInvest, AgDevCo, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Danish Refugee Council, GIB Asset Management, Investisseurs et Partenaires (I&P), iGravity, Last Mile Climate, Lightrock, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Proparco, Refugee Investment Network, Renew Capital, Seedstars, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Village Capital, WaterEquity and Water.org.
The full list of commitments can be found here.
The HRI Initiative welcomes more partners to join its growing community.
About the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024, taking place on 15-19 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, convenes the world’s foremost leaders under the theme “Rebuilding Trust.” For further information, click here.
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