The USAID Hub was a key partner in the latest Sankalp Africa 2018 Forum, which took place in Nairobi, Kenya from February 28 to March 2. An estimated 1,000 global delegates, consisting of impact investors and entrepreneurs, attended the Forum to deliberate on strategies for supporting and funding the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and for strategizing on how to best deploy capital to early and growth-stage firms in Africa.
The Hub participated in two learning lab sessions, 1) Designing a capital continuum: Leveraging development capital for scale, and 2) How INGOs are moving the needle in impact investing and new fund raising strategies. The first session provided valuable suggestions for future USAID Hub investment programming, such as including a co-creation element of funders, entrepreneurs and implementing partners to assess and then address priority needs of enterprises in the region for maximum impact. The second session stressed the need for INGOs to invest their own capital and deploy capital to companies prior to raising an impact fund. The session also highlighted the importance of development partners, such as USAID, in de-risking investment strategies through the provision of first-loss facilities and technical assistance for potential investees.
The Hub and USAID both participated as jurors in the Sankalp Africa Award for Entrepreneurship. Find out more here. The Hub plans to engage with one of the shortlisted firms, “Sweetunda, “which makes dried mango packaged for the export and local market. Specifically, the Hub will support Sweetunda’s export strategy through the Hub's specialty food program and through its investment and trade linkages program with Open Capital Advisors.