With an estimated $2.5 trillion annual funding gap to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, traditional development aid from governments and nonprofits will not be enough.
One solution is blended finance, which involves the use of public and philanthropic finance to mobilize private sector finance. AV Ventures spearheads ACDI/VOCA’s use of blended finance in response to development needs.
Photo: USDA-funded Ghana Poultry Project
FINANCING SMALL- AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES
AV Ventures invests patient, long-term capital in growing small-and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries where ACDI/VOCA works.
In Ghana urbanization and rising per-capita incomes are driving the demand for poultry products. This demand outpaces the domestic supply. AV Ventures is investing in local poultry producers who are poised to fill the gap.
An investment in GI Nyame Awie Ampa Limited will allow the commercial poultry farm to bring seven million more eggs to market each year. It will also boost employment by an estimated 20 percent, increase incomes among egg retailers (90 percent of whom are women), and improve market access for 900 soy and maize farmers from whom the farm sources its animal feed ingredients.
SOCIAL IMPACT INVESTING IN CENTRAL ASIA
AV Ventures entered into a joint venture agreement with Frontiers, one of ACDI/VOCA’s affiliated financial network members in the Kyrgyz Republic. The agreement created an investment management firm called AV Frontiers and a new fund called the Central Asia Impact Fund.
In Central Asia, many enterprises are too large for microloans and too small for regular investing. AV Frontiers identifies those “missing middle” enterprises with high growth potential and offers patient capital and technical assistance under flexible terms and shared risk.
The USAID Enterprise Competitiveness Project in the Kyrgyz Republic is also working to identify, invest in, and assist such enterprises.
In time, AV Ventures will attract more investors with an interest in impact investing, building on the anchor capital already committed by longtime ACDI/VOCA partner KMF-Demeu, a Kazakhstan-based affiliate.
LEVERAGING GRANT CAPITAL TO REDUCE RISK
In Ghana, as part of the USDA-funded Ghana Poultry Project, ACDI/VOCA uses blended finance to offer debt and mezzanine capital to poultry enterprises and financial institutions. This $4 million fund, managed by AV Ventures, includes a $2 million loan from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation and a $2 million grant from the USDA, both lent on commercial terms.
By blending these two funding sources, AV Ventures offers financing to businesses otherwise not considered investment ready. Technical assistance from USDA and ACDI/VOCA helps push the enterprises toward investment readiness. To date, AV Ventures has disbursed $2.1 million in three investments, including one successful exit.