At the Big Tent Ideas Festival “Resilience & Prosperity” session, speakers including chair Katherine Mulhern, CEO at Restitution, Dominic McVey, entrepreneur and business leader, Ibukun Adebayo, Co-head, Emerging Markets Strategy, London Stock Exchange Group, Veronica Bolton Smith, COO Invest Africa and Camille Wallen, Director of Strategy at HALO Trust, discussed how impact investment is one of the fastest growing sectors to support finance in the developing world.
The session covered how economic pressures make impact invest more important than ever. Meanwhile, the UK’s international agenda and ambition in a post-Brexit world is linked to trade and prosperity. The panel discussed what role the private sector and impact investment have for an equitable and green development.
Veronica Bolton-Smith COO at Invest Africa, said: “A third of the world’s population will soon reside in Africa – we need to ensure that these people have an education, have jobs, and the capacity for development. The rise of digitalisation in Africa has been a way to ensure that there have been good government practices such as through countering illicit goods. Also, with the rise of social media there are individuals and large swathes of society questioning governments – leaders now need to think harder about how long they stay in power and good governance is something they should be mindful of.”
Camille Wallen, Director of Strategy at HALO Trust, said: “In our sector, 70 percent of our current funding comes from the same five government donors alone and we can’t keep going back to them for more – it simply isn’t going to happen. Looking at Angola, for example, impact investments we see as one of the crucial solutions to removing landmines in the country.”
Dominic McVey said: “The British government has done a very good job in talking up trade agreements after Brexit, but so far we have only seen one. We are making demands on the world stage, but the money isn’t necessarily flowing where the rhetoric is. Let’s not forget Africa is full of opportunity – it’s easier to do business in Kenya than it is Belgium or Luxembourg. What can the UK government do – actually quite a lot, but it will be businesses that lead the way because they move with speed. The government can offer tax advantages for companies that do good in Africa, but it is still subsidising industries that do damage.”
A full replay of the session can be found on the Big Tent Youtube channel