Featured: Returns on Inclusion

Living Cities’ Joe Scantlebury sees cities as the template for an inclusive America. U.S. President Joe Biden wants to "build back better." Joe Scantlebury is out to make sure the rebuild includes all Americans. “I grew up in a single-parent household. I'm real clear on the hardships that we face,” says the incoming CEO of Living Cities, a 30-year-old collaborative of 19 philanthropic foundations and financial institutions investing to close racial income and wealth gaps. “It's important that we have policies that really enable the majority of Americans and a significant portion of our population to participate in the full economy.” Brooklyn-born Scantlebury takes the helm at the nonprofit following the departure of long-time CEO Ben Hecht. The outpouring of empathy following the murder of George Floyd created an opportunity to reach for a collective humanity. Now it’s time to deliver, Scantlebury says in a Q&A with ImpactAlpha.

Dealflow: Democratizing Impact

Cameroon’s Ejara raises $2 million for impact-focused crypto. Crypto is having a moment in Africa. Dozens of African fintechs promising to democratize access to cryptocurrencies across the continent have raised venture capital funding. Ejara was launched by Nelly Chatue-Dio to serve financially-underserved consumers in francophone West Africa, especially women. The woman-led startup offers simple, mobile-based cryptocurrency investment and savings options, as well as financial literacy tools. Ejara’s $2 million funding round was backed by CoinShares Ventures, Anthemis Group, impact investor Mercy Corps Ventures and others.

Signals: Countdown to COP

$100 billion is just a down payment on financing the climate transition in developing nations. For want of a nail... the kingdom was lost, as the old proverb goes. For want of $100 billion, a global climate agreement may be lost. Whether wealthy nations will meet their (repeated) promise to deliver $100 billion per year to help developing nations address climate changes may determine the fate of the COP26 global climate summit kicking off in Glasgow in 10 days. Africa’s main negotiator is calling for wealthy nations to raise their payments more than 10-fold, to $1.3 trillion per year by 2030. Private sector financing is critical to bridge the yawning gap. And the emerging consensus holds that such private financing depends on ‘catalytic capital’ to mitigate risks of investing in many emerging markets (see, “Deploying catalytic capital to bridge financing gaps for climate action”). Some promising approaches:

Agents of Impact: Follow the Talent

ImpactAlpha partner event: “Humankind: Deploying innovative investment structures to accelerate inclusion,” is among the breakout sessions at the Next Normal Now series on regeneration from the Global Impact Investing Network, Wednesday, Oct. 27. Guests include Alix Peterson Zwane of Global Innovation Fund, Stephen Buchanan of Mosaic Capital Partners and Gustavo Katz Braga of Common Fund for Commodities. RSVP today.

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