Impact investing in Africa: A new course about Africa for Africa

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PRESS OFFICE: Bertha Centre

The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business’s (UCT GSB) Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, a specialised unit at the GSB, has launched the continent’s first executive education course on impact investing.

The interactive three-and-a-half day Impact Investing in Africa short course will equip participants to design innovative financing impact investing strategies – an emerging skillset globally. The course is designed to provide participants with an understanding of the rapidly emerging field of impact investing and its ecosystem globally, with a specific focus on Africa.

“There is huge demand in this area worldwide. A similar programme has been running at the University of Oxford for four years and recently it was completely full with 55 students from 20 countries,” says course convenor Aunnie Patton Power, the Innovative Finance Lead at the Bertha Centre and an Associate Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Impact investments are investments made into companies, organisations and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Patton Power says that the impact investment market is estimated to grow to US$1tn in the next five years, yet there is a huge lack of substantive information advising investors on how to implement an effective impact investment strategy – especially about Africa and for Africa.

According to Patton Power there are many misconceptions around impact investment – for instance, that it is a trade-off between lower financial returns for higher social return.

“But this belief is rooted less in fact than in fear. As an industry, we’re only just beginning to collect quantitative data supporting the idea that a company can be for-profit and for-purpose without making long-term sacrifices to either goal,” she says.

“There are so many opportunities in South Africa and Africa at the moment. There are small to medium and even large companies focusing on social and sustainable impact, but also environmental start-ups, specifically in the field of renewable energy and solar energy,” she continues. According to a recent JP Morgan report, 22% of global impact enterprises are located in sub-Saharan Africa.

Patton Power says investors all over the world are eager to invest in Africa and specifically in companies that help lift people out of poverty and promote education and better healthcare.

“Despite the vast opportunities for social and economic impact across the continent, the regional market for impact investing is relatively untapped with underdeveloped market infrastructure,” says Dr Francois Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre. He says the new course will help to address these issues.

“Being based in a business school that seeks to be more relevant in Africa, we have taken an expanded view of the role of a university in impact investing – beyond research alone, to that of also acting as an advocate, a convener, a knowledge source and a facilitator. We believe all of these roles are necessary to catalyse an enabling ecosystem for impact investing in Africa.”

There is limited space still available on the course being offered this November at the UCT Graduate School of Business. Organisations who have previously sent participants on the course include: Standard Bank, Investec, Ernst & Young, Namibia’s Government and Institutions Pension Fund and the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Association. For more information about the Impact Investing in Africa Executive Education course, contact Tsakane Ngoepe at the UCT GSB on 021 406 1258 or email [email protected] or go to

For more information on this course, and to hear from previous course participants please watch this short video here.

Course Dates: 7-10 November
Application Deadline: 2 November
Cost: R15,000