“Macro indicators show good performance, but below the surface, there are economic and social issues that threaten the cohesion of Ghanaian society.” With these words of both optimism and caution, Hamdiya Ismailia, the General Manager of the Venture Capital Trust Fund and Chair of Impact Investing Ghana (IIGh) debuted IIGh to a room full of stakeholders in Ecobank Ghana’s brand-new auditorium.
Impact Investing itself lives in a world of contradictions trying to resolve themselves. “Impact investing is not philanthropy. We have moved past that,” said Ismailia. This is the central tension in impact investing. You invest to create social and environmental impact, but you also expect returns. It is an industry that is not just trying to prove that you can have your cake and eat it too, but that if you don’t, eventually there will be no cake left for anyone.
This renewed push for impact investing in Ghana specifically, and more broadly around the world, comes out of necessity. According to Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, the UN Resident Coordinator for Ghana, $5 to 7 trillion are needed each year to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a bold collection of 17 goals set by the UN General Assembly in 2015 to be achieved by 2030. Like the Millennium Development Goals that came before them, they include such stretch goals as ‘No Poverty’ and ‘Gender Equality’. It will take an equally bold combination of innovation in policy, implementation, and financing to achieve them.