Financial Inclusion | October 22, 2020

Investments in financial inclusion and agriculture deliver impact

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, Oct. 22ImpactAlpha has covered hundreds of investments aiming to drive access to finance and more sustainable agriculture. Two reports from the Global Impact Investing Network provide evidence of impact in each sector.

The average financial inclusion investee, for example, provided first-time access to formal financial services to more than 136,000 individuals during a one-year period, according to an analysis of almost 800 financial inclusion investments from 46 investors since 2009.

On average, agricultural investees helped boost incomes for more than 6,500 low-income farmers each year. More than 60% of all clients served by investees reported an increase in income across 661 direct investments from 38 investors since 2013.

“We’re not just trying to rack up numbers of dollars or rupees, we are ultimately trying to achieve impact at scale,” the GIIN’s Amit Bouri told ImpactAlpha. “Impact measurement and management is going mainstream in a way that I think is really encouraging for the market’s development.” 

  • Transparency and comparability. The studies, along with earlier GIIN reports on investments in clean energy and housing, help investors answer the question: “What does good impact performance look like?” Bouri said. Average annualized, realized returns for financial inclusion investments stood at 9%; for agriculture, 10%.  
  • Demand for data. The COVID crisis has asset owners looking for evidence of positive impact (see, “Asset managers compete on impact as investors move beyond ESG). Responding to that demand, asset managers “want to understand results and if they’re doing a good job,” says Bouri. The GIIN will release its impact-performance methodology, built on its IRIS+ system, for public comment on Nov. 12 (see, IRIS+ tool provides guidance to reset expectations for impact performance”).