OPIC: Let’s leverage impact investing to make aid funding sustainable

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Much of the impact investing field has been driven by public sector actors, which have an important role to play both in the way they deploy their capital and the work that they can do to build the industry.

The public sector has contributed about 50 percent of the money that has been channeled to impact investing vehicles, according to a recent report from JP Morgan and the Global Impact Investing Network. Even as everyone has become aware of the power of the private sector to become a driver of development as the impact investment movement has grown, agencies like the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. have been making what could have been classified as impact investments since before the term was coined.

Last year, OPIC invested $3.9 billion on loans, guarantees, insurance and support for private equity. Of the total amount, $2.7 billion went to sectors generally associated with impact like health and education, but that don’t meet the agency’s strict definition of impact investing. About $222 million were classified as impact investments — investments that as part of their business model seek to solve a social or environmental problem.

Devex recently spoke to OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield about impact investing, the agency’s role and how the development community can improve the field. Here are a few highlights from our conversation:

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Base of the Pyramid, impact investing