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Overheard at the Latin America Impact Investing Forum

Discussions at the eighth Foro Latinoamericano de Inversión de Impacto in Mérida, Mexico are revolved around not why or what or when, but how. Here are some highlights:

  • Impact investment need not be pure. There are steps on the path towards impact, says Andrea Armeni of Transform Finance and Aner Ben-Ami of Candide Group. BlackRock’s warning to global CEOs could mean serious change, says Armeni. “But I am not going to talk to Larry Fink about being non-extractive.” The important thing, he says, is to take people where they are and work towards improvement.
  • The “how” would be easier for US development finance with equity. Legislation in the US Congress could restructure development finance. The US Overseas Private Investment Corp., unlike most global development finance institutions, can offer only debt, not equity. That leaves “a perception that it still isn’t equally shared risk [with other partners],” says Jaime Ramirez of Grassroots Business Fund. OPIC’s David Bohigian told ImpactAlpha the ability to make equity investments would make the US a more catalytic investor.
  • Investors need to stick with entrepreneurs. Too often, investors make one investment or issue one loan and move onto a shiny new thing. That’s not the path to meaningful change, says Beneficial Returns’ Ted Levinson. “Social entrepreneurs are addressing massive problems, but they’re tiny. Investors should double down on the ones that work.”

More ImpactAlpha coverage of FLII 2018:

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