Africa Agriculture Conference Development ESG Impact Investment SME

Key takeaways in impact investing and ESG from “A Brave new world” Webinar

Last Thursday, 21st of May, Uhusiano Capital in association with FurtherAfrica, held their first Webinar in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

A Brave New World” as the event was named, counted with the presence of six experts in the area of impact investment. (If you are one of the people who were not able to attend since the event sold out and the room was full, you can still watch it here or at the box below).

Each expert had around 5 minutes to go through their positioning and explain to the participants some next steps of their respective areas when it comes to an Africa post COVID19. The agenda was divided into two parts; “Perspective from the Impact Investors of Africa” followed by “Tools to navigate through the new ‘rules of engagement’.”

Following the global trend, the sectors that have reported the largest losses since the beginning of the outbreak have been the industry and tourism. The cumulative loss from both sectors could be upwards of US$5B, accounting around 2.6% of the Continent’s GDP. Following the global fluctuation in oil price and demand, Africa’s top exporters, Angola and Nigeria as an example, saw major decreases in the quantity exported. The informal economy can be easily affected by lockdown measures and price gouging; to be put into perspective, the informal economy comprises almost 30% of some countries’ GDP and holds upwards of 70% of labour activities. Seeing as the informal economy plays such a large role in some Sub-Saharan nations, efforts to minimize unemployment should be directed mainly towards SMEs.

“And this also applies to the recovery, insecure employment and unreliability of work is the enemy of sustainable equitable development that will be resilient in the face of shocks such as this one. So beyond supporting SMEs to keep people employed through a period of crisis we need to increase funding to SMEs if we want to have more resilient and suitable economies in the future.” Rana Modarres, Impact Investing Director at Oxfam, during Uhusiano’s Webinar.

The Agricultural sector also saw major impacts even prior to our current global pandemic. Since the time of the webinar, there was not enough data to support the interventions and measures taken in the sector; the issue of food security and maintaining the supply chain were the scope of such interventions. Initiatives and interventions are also crunching all the financial and capital data to consider which crops will require more intensive labour, capital and technical assistance. Moreover, investors are also considering the jurisdiction of the governing bodies in countries where interventions have taken place.

“ESG and Impact themes that have ranked top as a result of the COVID pandemic, redefining business long term and value viability.” Tendai Mabikacheche, Managing Director at iSustain Global, explored the topic of where companies will place their assets and prioritise their values in the “Covid World.”

According to Tendai, the ESG themes that will likely see an increase in asset allocation could be: Business Continuity, Risk Management, Employee Wellbeing and Resource Management. Companies are also shifting their focus towards impacts and the SDGs, which go hand in hand with ESG as they see the other impacts not only focusing on the financial returns of an investment.

The Webinar addresses more topics and after the full panel spoke, some questions were held, which explored other topics and enforced ideas presented during the event.

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