ImpactAlpha Open | September 5, 2023

ImpactAlpha Open: Cautionary tales from East Africa’s disruptive darlings

Dennis Price

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ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

Hi there, Agents of Impact! Welcome to ImpactAlpha Open, our free weekly newsletter with the top news and opportunities in impact investing.

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In this week’s Open:

  • Course corrections in East Africa
  • Willful ignorance on Wall Street
  • Democratizing gender-lens investing
  • The Wrexham Model

Ok, let’s jump in. – Dennis Price

Top News in Impact Investing on ImpactAlpha

  • Course corrections in East AfricaImpactAlpha’s Jessica Pothering and contributor Lucy Ngige trace the paths of logistics tech startups like Twiga, Copia and Sendy in East Africa from disruptive darlings to cautionary tales. Go deeper.
  • Institutional impact. Major financial institutions, asset owners and business leaders continue to display willful ignorance in the face of an accelerating climate crisis. As Imogen Rose-Smith writes in her latest column, “Things are not alright.” View the column.
  • Carrots and sticks. For Europe’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation to drive real change, asset owners need to use the new transparency to step up pressure on asset managers, argues AlphaMundi’s Pekka Halla in a guest post. Read this Impact Voices.
  • Rehabilitation single-family housing. Impact investors are giving investment strategies focused on renovating single-family rentals a second look as a part of the naturally occurring affordable housing, or NOAH, toolkit, argues Dan Magder of Center Creek Capital. Get his take.

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Agents of Impact

🏃🏾‍♀️ People on the move

  • RSF Social Finance promoted VP of operations Michelle Bruno to chief operating officer.
  • Emily Zhen, ex- of New Enterprise Associates, joined Zeal Capital Partners as principal.
  • Eliya Imtiaz, ex- of Oppfi, joined Impact Capital Managers as an analyst. 

Impact Briefing

Carmen Correa, CEO of Pro Mujer top news impact investing

🎧 On the podcast

Pro Mujer’s Carmen Correa joins host Monique Aiken to share how the pioneering Latin American microfinance institution’s bonds are democratizing gender lens investing in Argentina. Plus, the headlines. 

Six Signals: What We’re Reading

🏦 Catalyzing capital for development. Development finance institutions can free-up risk capital by leveraging more of their shareholder equity with debt and shift more mature investments off their balance sheets. That could mobilize more commercial capital for emerging markets, argues the UK’s own DFI. (British International Investment)

💡 Upskilling India’s workforce. More than 580 million people in India are in blue or gray collar jobs. Investments in basic business management, digital marketing, communication and enhanced vocational skills can unleash their potential. Access to capital and to gig and other staffing platforms are among the most critical solutions. (Omidyar Network)

💎 Equitable transition metal value chains. As demand accelerators, countries from Indonesia to Chile to Zimbabwe are pushing to move up the value chain to ensure producing countries benefit from the production and processing of energy-transition materials such as copper. (Wood MacKenzie)

🌳 Natural capital bond risk. Countries are failing to protect their natural capital, putting water, air and soil resources in jeopardy, according to Barclays. The mispricing of “natural capital” risks in sovereign bonds could trigger downgrades in the bonds’ ratings. (Bloomberg)

🌡️ Climate and economic justice. An interactive map from U.S. Council on Environmental Quality shows information about the climate, environmental, health, and socioeconomic burdens that communities are facing throughout the nation. (CEQ)

⚽ The Wrexham Model. Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney brought new money and new stars to transform the Welsh football club and jumpstart the local economy. Can Wrexham be a model for Britain’s other struggling towns? “As a social enterprise, an economic enterprise and a sporting one, football clubs are very much at the forefront of their communities,” says Tory MP John Stevenson(

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