The landscape of impact investing in emerging markets

May 2013
Emily Darko, Grace Howells
This project maps the landscape of support to social enterprises in emerging markets.
Impact investing is not a new approach to addressing development challenges. The release of a report in 2010 by JP Morgan and the GIIN however, drew significant additional attention to the concept of investing for profit and social or environmental impact, estimating that the impact investment  market could reach $400 billion to $1 trillion through 2020, while providing new and innovative development solutions.

In partnership with Shell Foundation, ODI has conducted a pilot study with a corresponding executive summary to map the magnitude and nature of funding currently provided in middle income and low income countries across the typical growth path of a social enterprise. Using publicly available data, surveys and targeted interviews we estimated the volume of finance committed, against a defined typology of actors and instruments, at each stage of the enterprise lifetime. We have:

  • developed and tested a methodology to create a comprehensive picture of impact investment in emerging markets
  • support assessments of the effectiveness of current activities
  • identified opportunities for new interventions

These findings attracted interest from a broad spectrum of actors, ranging from providers of development assistance to private investors. Recently there has been a proliferation of ‘impact’ investors, funds, and intermediaries, along with the establishment of a number of initiatives dedicated to the measurement and reporting of ‘impact’. In parallel, a small number of primarily qualitative studies have sought to further define and measure aspects of the impact investment universe . However, understanding of the current landscape and scale of impact investment in emerging markets remains unclear. This is in part due its broad definition, which includes a diversity of funding sources, instruments, and actors with a variety of goals.

Private Sector and Markets
Shell Foundation

Emerge conference 2013

Event - 2 - 3 November 2013
Emerge​ conference allows students, professionals and sector leaders to connect to learn about and develop businesses with a social impact. Emily Darko is hosting an interactive session on 2nd November at the Emerge 2013 Conference entitled ‘Mapping support to social enterprise’. She will discuss on findings from ODI’s recent work with the Shell Foundation to create a pilot survey of organisations providing financial and non-financial support to social enterprises in developing countries, and ask participants to feedback on issues and questions for phase 2 of the work and how it fits into the ecosystem of supporting social enterprise growth.

Impact investing and beyond: mapping support to social enterprises in emerging markets

Publication - July 2013
Shelagh Whitley, Emily Darko and Grace Howells
It is now possible to capture the full range of support available for developing social enterprises in emerging markets - and for the market infrastructure in which they operate. After identifying an appetite from investors, this This full report and corresponding executive summary explores the range of support to social enterprises in emerging markets.

Theories of relativity: linking poverty, inequality and development

12 March 2007 - Martin Prowse

On 24 November 2006, David Cameron, the Leader of The Conservative Party in the UK, gave an important speech in which he said that it was no longer sufficient to think about absolute poverty, but that relative poverty should be the main frame of reference. The speech appears to mark a highly significant shift.

Empowerment: an overview

Publication - December 2006
Cecilia Luttrell
Summary of discussion paper in preparation regarding the history and debates surrounding empowerment.
Information Documents

Survey questions summary

Survey questions summary
Survey questions summary - pdf, 222.88k

Survey guidance notes

Survey guidance notes
Survey guidance notes - pdf, 430.22k