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A monthly update highlighting and connecting work within International Development across the OU and beyond.

    IKD: Innovation, Knowledge and Development Research Centre
   Investing for Inclusive Development in Africa?

Dr Michael Ngoasong, Lecturer in Management, The Open University Business School

 


Should inclusive development be championed by big business? Impact investments are those made with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return, and the Global Impact Investing Network is a coalition of investors who focus on maximising the financial returns of their investments, while at the same time creating inclusive small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with the potential to improve access to essential goods and services in low-income countries. The World Economic Forum report, Assessment of the Impact Investment Sector and Opportunities to Engage Mainstream Investors, claims that channelling funds directly to commercially viable SMEs is a better way to address poverty alleviation and economic growth than grants and aid, which would mean impact fund managers and local entrepreneurs/managers have a central role to play in inclusive development.

Africa has received the largest proportion (34%) of impact investments going to the developing world, which is unsurprising given that, despite having some of the fastest growing economies in the world, it accounts for 25 of the 34 low-income countries. Crucially, until recently the financial architecture, lending technologies and focus of SME financing in Africa has hardly focused on pro-poor and inclusive growth. My research, shortly to be published as an IKD Working Paper, examines how impact investing could contribute to addressing this. It shows how inclusive development is being framed in terms of ‘inclusive business practice' – the matrix of financial and social impacts used by fund managers to encourage SMEs to incorporate inclusion in their finance-seeking and market-seeking behaviours.

In addition, I am developing a new Impact Investing in Africa (IIA) initiative that will work with Africa-based partners to explore how impact investing models on the supply-side (such as credit) and the demand-side (such as business creation) can lead to inclusion for the poor in Africa. If you would like to know more or to discuss getting involved please contact me.




Dr Michael Zisuh Ngoasong
Lecturer in Management
Open University Business School

This is an extract from Impact Investing and Inclusive Business Development in Africa, a seminar given as part of the International Development Seminar Series. View the full seminar online.
 


News & Research


£774,163 DFID-ESRC Research Funding Success
The project, led by Professor Giles Mohan, will assess whether development benefits are occurring as a result of investment in Africa by Chinese national oil companies, and the extent to which the growth generated trickles down to Africa’s poorest. Read more ...

OU Attends High-Profile Summit on Global Value Chain (GVCs)
Leading academics and international policymakers from around the world met to discuss GVCs at a global summit held at Duke University. Professor Raphael Kaplinsky took part in the panel discussion Academic Reflections on Global Value Chains. View podcast ...

Improving Access to Medicines in Africa
Access relies on both production and distribution to work well, but which should come first when it comes to health spending? Julius Mugwagwa argues that new thinking and innovations in distribution may be what Africa most urgently needs. Read more ...

Westminster Launch for Security Report
In Religion, Security and Global Uncertainties, Professor John Wolffe suggests that policy-making can be improved by understanding how religion causes or cures conflict around the world. The report was funded by Research Councils UK. Read more ...

Chinese Technologies: A Mode of Entry for Firms in Developing Countries?
In a study of furniture manufacturing in Kenya, Richmond Atta-Ankomah concludes that as Chinese technology has lessened entry barriers for new firms, it might be more appropriate for developing countries than advanced-country technology. Read more ...
 
 

Events


OU International Development Seminar Series (updated schedule)
Room 00-13, Ground Floor Chambers Building, OU, Milton Keynes
Lunch (provided) from 12.00, presentation & discussion 12.30 - 14.00

Please RSVP to Claire Emburey to attend. You can view previous seminars online.

International Education and Development at the OU
Wednesday 11 February    
Elizabeth Erling, Lore Gallastegi and Leigh-Anne Perryman (OU) will discuss their latest research, including studies on increasing the presence of female role models in schools in Malawi and the impact of the TESS-India teacher education project.

The Changing Role of Education in Children's Lives
Wednesday 18 February
Professor Martin Woodhead (Int Dev, Oxford) will provide an overview of Young Lives, a longitudinal study involving 12,000 children in four countries (Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam), focusing on a range of emergent themes relevant to international education.

The Geopolitical Economy of Natural Gas: A GPN Approach?
Wednesday 4 March
Professor Gavin Bridge (Geography, Durham) will introduce a Global Production Networks approach to 'map' the organisational and geographical structure of the natural gas sector, and comment on its implications for gas security.

International Approaches to Social Justice in Education (internal-only)
Thursday 12 February, 12.30 - 17.30
CMR 15, OU, Milton Keynes

The symposium will investigate what researchers and policymakers in high and low income countries can learn from each other, thus increasing understanding of how educational inequalities are produced and how they might be disrupted.

ICT and Science in a Complex World: Call for Papers
Closing date: 16 February
The 15th International Conference on Technology, Policy & Innovation, to be held at the OU in June, will discuss using science and technology to foster regional economic development and shared prosperity.

After Neoliberalism? Soundings Journal Kilburn Manifesto Conference
Saturday 21 February, 9.30 - 16.00
Human Rights Action Centre, London EC2A 3EA

Emeritus Professor of Geography Doreen Massey and an esteemed selection of speakers celebrate the completion of After Neoliberalism? The Kilburn Manifesto.

Funded PhD and MRes Studentships (CREET)
Closing Date: 9 March
Applications are now open for a limited number of funded studentships in areas such as International Education, Childhood Studies, and Technology Enhanced Learning at the OU's Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET).

Doctoral Training Workshop: Using Technology in Research (internal-only)
Tuesday 24 March, 10.45 - 13.00
Room S0049, Venables Building, OU, MIlton Keynes

A hands-on clinic for mobile ICT, audio and video use in fieldwork. The session will cover devices such as cameras, microphones and audio recorders, as well as Web 2.0 tools.

The Robert Beevers Memorial Studentship
Closing date: 31 March
Following a generous donation, the OU is seeking candidates to study towards a fully funded PhD in one of the following areas: the politics of innovation and development; the socio-technical analysis of engineering and development; innovation systems and technical capability in developing countries; migration, development and innovation.

Environmental Histories of Commodities 1800-2000: Call for Papers
Closing date: 31 March
This joint OU/UCL conference will showcase research on nature’s contributions to, as well as the environmental impact and consequences of, the historical production, circulation and consumption of commodities in the modern period.
 

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