Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand

The Week’s Big 7

1. ESG risk for countries. There are by now dozens of ways to measure corporate exposure to climate risks, but few good methods exist to assess exposure to authoritarian regimes, like China or Saudi Arabia. Just this week, China’s Daqo New Energy, a major solar supplier listed on the New York Stock Exchange, hired an auditor to address investor concerns about forced labor at its Xinjiang plant.

The Week’s Agent of Impact

Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand. The 40-year-old prime minister is redefining leadership for the 21st century. Early in the COVID crisis, Ardern chose not to contain the pandemic but to eliminate it. Led by science, Ardern moved decisively to impose border controls and a nationwide lockdown. Government spending provided essential support to businesses and backstopped incomes of workers who lost their jobs. Ardern and her ministers cut their own pay by 20% for six months. She chose empathetic leadership, framing the country a unified “team of five million.” Roughly 100 days after the first identified case in New Zealand, Ardern’s government declared the pandemic effectively over. There have been setbacks, of course. Still, New Zealand, with five million people, has tallied just 2,700 cases and only 26 deaths. 

The Week’s Dealflow

Frontier finance. The U.K.’s CDC Group provides $100 million to help ETG connect smallholder farmers in Africa… CDC Group also helps Nigeria’s Uhuru Investment Partners reach a $113 million close for a growth-stage fund that integrates environmental, social and governance practices... Dolma Fund Management raises $40 million to invest in renewable energy, healthcare and technology ventures in Nepal… IFC is making a $10 million equity investment in South Africa’s Eris Property Group to develop affordable student housing… GIZ Egypt is launching a €100 million funding program for first-time fund managers to close the early capital gap for Egypt’s entrepreneurs.

The Week’s Talent

Greg Jones, ex- of CVC Capital Partners, joins LeapFrog Investments as head of investor relations. Alice Maltby, ex- of Apax Partners, joins LeapFrog as an investor relations officer… Amma Sefa-Dedeh of Stanbic Investment Management Services is named CEO of Impact Investing Ghana, the GSG’s Ghanian National Advisory Board… Teree Henderson, ex- of Partnership for Public Service, joins SoLa Impact as director of social impact… Danny Almagor takes on the executive chair role at Australian fund manager Impact Investment Group, following Daniel Madhavan’s departure last month.

The Week’s Jobs

New Energy Nexus is hiring a climate fintech credit card consultant in New York… Impact Capital Managers is hiring an analyst in New York… Village Capital seeks a community associate in Washington, D.C… JFFLabs is hiring a director for its Employment Technology Fund… 17 Asset Management is looking for a sustainable investing fellow in New York… Acumen East Africa seeks a senior portfolio associate in Nairobi. 

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Impact Briefing: Week of May 14

ImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering and David Bank join host Brian Walsh to talk about pulling the levers of risks and returns in new financial structures for unlocking capital in emerging markets.

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