In Hindsight: Social Development and Investment in Africa

“There are fundamental changes in global and local practice, new funding models, development portfolios and investment practices, as well as the impact of technology.  The impact on the sector is profound.”

This month, members of the forgood team attended this year’s Next Generation Innovation and Impact conference Hosted by Reana Rossouw. We learned about the hindsight, foresight and insight of the social investment and development sectors in Africa. In this post, we’ve summarized the knowledge gained from 15 years of benchmarking trends from the Next Generation 2018 CSI Trends, Forecasts and Impacts Research Report.  Here are the ten hindsight trends.

In Hindsight

  1. The year of blended finance – Finance is no longer only seen as donations and grants.  Impact investors and social enterprises are now looking towards sustainable, for-profit models of development. This is incredible news for the non-profit sector as interest from investing in these models can be reinvested for greater impact.
  2. The year of ROI – A recent report by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC) that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, decided on by the UN, could open up $12 trillion of market opportunities in food and agriculture, cities, energy and materials, health and well-being, AND create 380 million new jobs by 2030. This would be largely in part to private funding and development market opportunities
  3. The year that measurement really started to matter – It’s no longer considered overhead – it’s considered a strategic imperative. Social investors want to make sure their investments yield returns, are creating impact and that the solutions are able to be understood.  In collecting and sharing these measurements and knowledge, we can create more effective and collaborative decisions towards investment and development.
  4. The year of online giving – Having access to give online, global news cycles, the growth of social media platforms, crowdfunding and conscious consumerism have connected investors, philanthropists, Causes, communities, and civil society to come together, creating a powerful mix of involvement, participation and contribution. (Forgood was named as one of the leaders of the pack!)
  5. The year of a new generation of givers and investors – Social issues that fall under inclusivity, gender equality and ideological liberalisation are mainstream areas of interest for millennial, gen x’ers and y’ers. Therefore, we can assume it’s to be expected that Causes receiving the most support are those that are growing with the times… and the generations.
  6. The year of social justice – We can’t always choose our government, but we can choose to support and invest in organisations that support social or civil justice organizations representing civil society to defend the vulnerable, voiceless and masses. This is a growing trend seen in the way people are choosing to give.
  7. The year of the app – It’s no surprise that with the disruption technology has caused, investors would be interested in growing the development of technology to speed up social development. New technology gives so much more access to education, healthcare, water and energy. Funders don’t want to contribute to a Cause that doesn’t see the value in utilizing tools that will provide quicker solutions to their problems.
  8. The year of the incubator and accelerator – Responding to the new BBBEE legislation, venture capitalists have taken advantage of this opportunity to look towards enterprise development for their investments. The fact that corporations can’t employ everyone, there is a lack of diversity in the economy, the labor sector is declining while the professional sector is growing and the development sector is needing to speed up, there’s been an explosion in the need to create incubators and accelerators. This is a key driver of innovation, collaboration and integration.
  9. A year of for-profit development – Using economic solutions, social enterprise has shown the capability to solve social issues while also solving environmental issues. The development sector cannot solely rely on unsustainable means for development, such as relying heavily on aid, the government and global handouts.
  10. The year Africa came into its own – Philanthropy, social and investment impact, and grant-making have become institutionalized across the continent. Social media has allowed organisations to share their stories and and models for growth. African nations welcome contributions toward the future of Africa, but the message has been delivered that development strategies and policies cannot be dictated by international agendas or organizations.

Follow through to Next Generation 2018 CSI Trends, Forecasts and Impacts Research Report to read the full report and stay tuned for stay tuned for next weeks summary on part two, foresight! .

To discover Causes that are already making a difference in South Africa, visit the platform and find an Opportunity that speaks to you. Or, if you’d rather create your own Opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, create an Offer. Offers allow you to say what you’d like to donate or how you’d like to volunteer – be it your time, skills or previously loved goods. Your Offer gets sent out to Causes near you and if they can use your help, they’ll let you know. Then, you can choose which Cause to work with. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions!

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