Beats | October 2, 2015

Shifting to Digital, Media Development Investment Fund Taps Al Jazeera Exec

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Media Development Investment Fund took another step in its shift toward digital media, naming Mohamed Nanabhay, former head of Al Jazeera English online, as deputy to CEO Harlan Mandel.

Nanabhay will lead the non-profit media fund’s digital investment strategy in emerging and frontier markets. From his base in South Africa, he hopes to expand the firm’s African and Middle Eastern portfolios.

MDIF launched its Digital Media Ventures fund in 2012 to make equity investments in start-up digital news and information businesses and recently launched Knowledge Bridge to help its clients build digitization strategies. Since 1995, MDIF has provided more than $133 million in debt and equity financing to independent media businesses in countries with a history of media oppression (see ImpactAlpha’s profiles of women in independent media in Malaysia, Bosnia and Herzovina and Peru).

Nanabhay, who stepped off MDIF’s Board of Directors to take the role, spent eight years at Al Jezeera. “I’m looking forward to using my experiences to help news businesses – and MDIF – innovate and thrive in difficult environments,” he said in a statement.

“Legacy print media companies continue to play an important role in communities they’re in,”Mandel told ImpactAlpha last year. “However, over the long term, MDIF views higher impact and investment potential in online media.”

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Dennis Price previously worked as a consultant for Media Development Investment Fund.