As a new national task force is launched to channel funds in to under-funded social impact projects the question arises why has South Africa been so reluctant to embrace impact investing?

South Africa is the continent’s top recipient for impact investing, amassing as much as $4.9 billion of it compared with the second highest Kenya, which has disbursed impact capital worth $1.4 billion, according to the Global Impact Investment Network (GIIN). Yet despite this many internal South African investors don’t identify what they do as impact investing, when they fulfil enterprise development of comply with BBBEE codes to foster job creation and invest in early stage enterprises. This feature will explore how South African investors can begin to look diversify into impact assets and provide the next crucial stage of investment after early seed capital has been planted, whilst also delivering returns.

“[Impact investing] is really a source of diversification for us as well as our clients… and what we see is there is no negative impact on performance,” said Isabelle Cabie, global head of responsible development at Candriam Investors Group, a European responsible asset manager with €107.2 billion in assets under management.

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