UK development sector backs India as the global home for impact investing – South Asia Time

UK development sector backs India as the global home for impact investing

 June 27, 2019  

London– India’s emergence as a dynamic hub for social enterprise and entrepreneurialism shows it as the best place in the world for impact investing, leading figures in business, government and philanthropy said, as they gathered for the UK-India Week Social Impact Forum hosted by the British Asian Trust on Wednesday (26 June).

The impact investing sector in India attracted over $5.2 billion between 2010 and 2016, with over $1.1 billion invested in 2016 alone.

Indian society and economics have undergone enormous change since the 1990s. Its GDP continues to grow steadily, at a rate of 7.3% in 2018/19, and it is classed as a middle-income country by the World Bank. The increasingly dynamic and innovative climate in the country is spreading to the development sector, with funding driven by the Government, local Corporate Sector Responsibility (CSR), a growing Indian philanthropy market and impact investment.

According to a newly published report on UK-India relations by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the British parliament, the Indian diaspora in the UK are a hugely important resource in developing personal and professional ties between the UK and India. Following on from evidence submitted by the British Asian Trust, the report urges the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to work more closely with the diaspora, promoting talent from the community into bespoke roles aimed at engaging Indian businesses and policy makers.

Last year the world’s largest education development impact bond (DIB) was launched in India, led by the British Asian Trust and an impressive consortium of public and private sector partners. With funding invested into education NGOs, the DIB aims to improve literacy and numeracy skills for hundreds of thousands of children, drive a focus towards outcomes in the development sector and transform the way education is funded in India. 

The Leaders’ Summit lies at the heart of UK-India Week, organised by India Inc. annually as a high-impact series of events and interactions to set the pace for the bilateral relationship.

Social Finance Forum

As part of their commitment to strengthening UK impact investment in India, the British Asian Trust and India Inc, the organisers of UK-India week, will be hosting a social finance forum with diaspora involvement in India next year.

Abha Thorat-Shah, Executive Director (Social Finance) at the British Asian Trust, said:

“India has led the way in recognising the role private sector must play if we are to succeed in overcoming the challenges posed by the Sustainable Development Goals – across education, health, gender equality, climate change and employment. It has pioneered innovative finance solutions for development, such as the $11m Quality Education Development Impact Bond to drive up literacy and numeracy standards in India, and we expect to see this continue across the country.

As India establishes itself as the global home for impact investing, new funders will emerge – increasing the overall pot of money in development. The potential of social finance outcome funding is huge: if just 1% of global capital market investment was dedicated to it, we could fill the SDG funding gap,” she added.

As part of UK-India Week 2019, Abha was included in the prestigious India Inc’s 100 Most Influential in UK- India Relations’ list – an exclusive list of key influencers and leaders that enrich and help strengthen the UK-India relationship.

Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), policy think tank of the Government of India, said,

“We welcome the commitment from our partners in the UK to continue to drive impact investment in India. India is proud to be at the forefront of an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy, through Development Impact Bonds and other innovative financing mechanisms to attract new private capital. Once unleashed, we see the huge potential of this type of funding to tackle development challenges and improve the lives of successive generations. We look forward to working with the development sector in the UK to take impact investment in India to a new level in the coming years.”

The British Asian Trust, founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, which has led the way with its $11m Quality Education Development Impact Bond, has called for social finance outcome funding to help bridge the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) funding gap.

Founded in 2007, the British Asian Trust backs sustainable solutions to the challenges of poverty and injustice and has already touched more than four million lives in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.