The start of this new decade marks the countdown to the end of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 goals aim to address urgent global issues. They were developed as a worldwide call to action, intended to be completed by 2030. However, with the countdown clock quickly running out, many are questioning if these goals will be achieved at all. Given this concern, we at FINCA International decided to incorporate the SDGs into our 2020 New Year’s resolution.
With a mission to alleviate poverty through sustainable solutions, our 2020 resolution is to continue working toward this goal. And with the timeliness of the 10-year SDG countdown, we choose to take a look at our four programmatic areas—microfinance, fintech, impact investing, and our social enterprise—through the lens of how each is contributing to the progress of the 17 SDGs.
As the second article of our three-part series focused on the SDGs and FINCA’s New Year’s resolution, this article will focus on our impact investing program, FINCA Ventures. You can read the first post of the series detailing how our microfinance and fintech programs contribute to the SDGs here: FINCA’s New Year’s Resolution: Microfinance, Fintech, and SDGs.
Part 2: Impact Investing through FINCA Ventures
FINCA Ventures is the name of FINCA International’s impact investing platform. This initiative provides support to early-stage social enterprises working across Africa. Still focusing on our organizational goal of sustainable poverty alleviation, our partner organizations contribute to sustainable solutions within the energy, WASH, education, health, agriculture and fintech sectors.
FINCA Ventures directly and indirectly contributes to 15 of 17 SDGs:
SDG 1: No Poverty
FINCA Ventures supports the growth of early-stage social enterprises, which work to help people lift themselves out of poverty. This is an inherent part of how FINCA defines social enterprise. With this definition, we are fostering a market for affordable, high-quality and life-improving products and services.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
Supporting early-stage companies in the agricultural sector, FINCA Ventures works with them to increase food security and sustainability, enhance agricultural productivity and market access, reduce market uncertainty and increase incomes for smallholder farmers. For example, our partner East Africa Fruits is working to improve supply chain in Tanzania to reduce farmer’s post-harvest losses from 40 percent to 20 percent.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
FINCA Ventures supports young social enterprises operating in the health sector. Their goal is to improve access to affordable, quality healthcare and pharmaceutical services for low-income people. This is exactly what FINCA partner MDaaS Global is doing in Nigeria. They are opening healthcare centers that offer radiology, cardiology, laboratory and other diagnostic services. Additionally, they are building these centers in low-income communities, which are the most excluded by the existing healthcare system.
SDG 4: Quality Education
FINCA Ventures also supports early-stage companies, like Eneza Education, operating in the education sector. In this role, the goal is to increase access to educational opportunities for youth and adult learners and to prepare individuals for future employment opportunities.
[Eneza Education] has transformed my life through education. It is helping students to see their dreams come true.
SDG 5: Gender Equality
FINCA Ventures aims to address gender inequality by incorporating a focus on (1) products and services designed for female customers and (2) the consideration of female-owned and female-led enterprises in the selection of investee companies.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
In the WASH sector, FINCA Ventures supports social enterprises that aim to improve access to adequate sanitation and hygiene for underserved populations. For example, our partner Sanivation uses a waste collection system where they process collected waste and turn it into an alternative fuel source.
SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
FINCA Ventures supports early-stage clean energy companies, like BioLite, to bring modern, affordable and clean energy services to low-income populations.
[BioLite] cookstoves help me to prepare meals much faster and produce less smoke which has improved my health, and they also save me money by economizing firewood and charcoal usage.
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
Helping early-stage social enterprises grow, FINCA Ventures is fostering entrepreneurship, job creation and innovation, which results in more productive economies. Additionally, FINCA Ventures expands access to financial services by facilitating partnerships between investee companies and FIF banks.
One recent example is the partnership facilitated between Good Nature Agro and FINCA Zambia. This partnership enabled Good Nature Agro’s extension agents to open a savings account with FINCA Zambia so they could be paid electronically.
SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
FINCA Ventures provides capital and support to small-scale industries, fostering inclusive and sustainable industrialization and infrastructure development.
SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities
FINCA Ventures invests capital into the least developed and developing countries in Africa. And through its portfolio companies, FINCA Ventures supports sustainable income growth for low-income populations and reduces development inequalities.
I use the income from my business to pay the school fees and put enough food on the table for my children. I want them to have good health.
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
Exemplified by the partnership with Sanivation, FINCA Ventures invests in companies that support water and sanitation management in cities and their communities. The goal is to create a more sustainable lifestyle in cities and communities.
SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
As demonstrated through our partnerships with Good Nature Agro and East Africa Fruits, FINCA Ventures supports investee companies in the agriculture sector that work to enhance productivity, reduce supply chain food losses and enhance food security. Additionally, FINCA Ventures supports investee companies working to help the environment through waste management solutions.
SDG 14: Life Below Water
FINCA Ventures may support early-stage companies operating in the aquaculture sector. The intention would be to increase food security and sustainability, enhance market access, reduce market instability and generate income for small fishers.
SDG 15: Life on Land
Through our partnerships with early-stage companies in the agriculture sector—such as Good Nature Agro—FINCA Ventures supports combating desertification and restoring degraded land and soil to create a sustainable food production ecosystem.
Good Nature Agro taught me how to conserve soil by rotating crops, which really improved my yields.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
FINCA Ventures supports the inflow of foreign direct investment into developing economies.