This week, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield traveled to London to participate in two events that focused on impact investing, which has long been a focus at OPIC and is increasingly attracting attention from investors and entrepreneurs.
- The Development Impact Bond Working Group, formed by the Center of Global Development (CGD) and Social Finance, convened on June 5 to present their findings and initiate a public dialog about Development Impact Bonds. These bonds are a new financing instrument that could bring together investors, governments, the private sector and civil society to provide public services in developing countries. Development Impact Bonds are geared toward governments that cannot yet afford the full cost of additional public services; donors provide some or all of the repayment to investors when the results are proven. The concept is an adaptation of Social Impact Bonds, a way of financing public services, which are currently being tested in the U.S., Australia, Britain, Canada and Ireland.
The event marks the beginning of a public dialogue about the report, which will run until July 17. “Development Impact Bonds and other innovative, results-based financing mechanisms have the potential to transform the way we invest in social and economic development in both rich countries and developing countries,” said Littlefield, who co-chaired the working group with Owen Barder of the Center for Global Development (CDG) and Toby Eccles of Social Finance, a nonprofit focused on driving investment for social change.
- The G8 UK Social Impact Investing Forum on June 6 provided a platform for politicians, philanthropists, investors, business executives, entrepreneurs and policymakers from across the G8 to discuss the opportunities and challenges that a global social impact investment market presents. Littlefield spoke at a session on the potential of social impact investment in international development.
OPIC also signed onto a letter of support for the summit that stated, “the scale of our global problems far exceeds the resources currently allocated to solve them. By tapping the power of markets, impact investing has strong promise of unlocking new capital sources that can complement existing philanthropic and government funds. It can also catalyze innovations that help unravel some of society’s most pressing issues.”