We have been investing in developing economies for nearly 70 years. During this time we have pursued an evolving strategy for a changing world, establishing and backing a number of sector-leading businesses around the world. Two dual objectives have remained constant throughout this period – the need to generate reasonable financial returns while achieving lasting development impact.
We do not interpret these two objectives as a trade-off where high potential impact negates the need for financial returns or vice versa. In every investment decision we take, we assess whether potential impact (particularly in the form of job creation) is sufficient and whether the potential return is adequate for the risk our capital is taking. Both criteria must be met for an investment to proceed
We are market-led in our approach to investing. We have developed processes and skills which we believe are well suited to meeting the real, rather than perceived, needs of businesses and funds across Africa and South Asia.
When investing directly, we use all investment instruments to achieve the financial return we need while tailoring the structure to the particular needs of the client.
Investing through funds also remains a core strategy. Funds enable us to support a broader range of businesses, especially smaller firms, enabling local fund managers in developing countries to build capacity and attract capital from third parties.
We run highly commercial investment processes because successful, growing businesses also create impact. We aim for our investments to make a lasting difference, and to demonstrate to others that it is possible to invest successfully in hard places.
Our timescales can be flexible and we can take a patient approach after we commit, often with ten year-plus relationships with businesses or fund managers. Because value creation and resultant impact in our markets often takes many years to fully materialise.
We are proud of our pioneering heritage, which is underpinned by diligence, mitigation where possible, and the considered judgement of experienced investment professionals.
We recognise that investee businesses need assistance beyond capital, such as practical environmental, social or business integrity guidance and investment in human capital. As a responsible investor, helping companies achieve good standards of governance, along with strong environmental and social policies, is an important part of how we add value.
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Development impact and investment selection
Financial returns and investment selection