Impact Investing
Ruth Mbabazi

Impact Investing for Thriving Rural Communities

Investing in Small and Medium Enterprises in African Countries

Our vision is that rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa thrive thanks to a vibrant local economy.  We aim to create lasting positive social and environmental impact through financing and technical assistance to African SMEs.  Our investments contribute to improved income, food security and resilience of rural communities in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Rural Livelihoods Investment Facility

In 2021, HEKS/EPER has launched the Rural Livelihoods Investment Facility (RLIF) as innovative tool to bring about positive change in the lives of the people we work with. It is designed to be complementary to HEKS/EPER’s grant-based funding to local civil society organisations and cooperatives. 

Impact investments are investments made with the intention to generate positive, measurable social and environmental impact alongside a financial return (definition Global Impact Investing Network).

The Rural Livelihoods Investment Facility is an impact investment vehicle which provides debt financing to small and medium enterprises.  It supports local enterprises with limited access to bank financing which are still too small for many other impact investors.  The investments are done within the sustainable agriculture sector and related industries (access to water, energy and finance) in sub-Sahara Africa.

Impact Investing Sectors

How We Work

HEKS/EPER joined forces with the Swiss-based impact investing advisory firm iGravity, the two entities combining and leveraging complementary expertise. While HEKS provides the expertise notably in rural market systems development and economic inclusion, iGravity accompanies HEKS/EPER along the whole impact investing process, such as identifying possible enterprises, due diligence and contracting to impact measurement.

In 2022, HEKS/EPER approved seven loans ranging from 200’000 to 400’000 CHF over a duration of 3 to 5 years to companies in Uganda and Senegal. Each company is carefully selected. Every company is met in person to conduct a thorough due diligence check and to get to know the entrepreneurs we are supporting.

Discover Kumba, a family-run Senegalese grain processing company based in Dakar, which in the frame of the RLIF has received a loan to modernize its processing of traditional grains.

Our Impact

Through our investments into the rural economy in sub-Saharan Africa, the RLIF will positively impact the lives of at least 50’000 people annually.

  • Smallholder farmers and their families benefit from higher and more stable incomes.
  • People in rural communities have improved and affordable access to resources (finance, food, clean water and energy).
  • People in rural communities are more resilient to economic shocks and the adverse effects of climate change.

The RLIF monitors and measures financial performance alongside social and environmental impact at the individual deal and portfolio level, using internationally recognized frameworks and metrics (GIIN/IRIS and SDGs).

Impact Investing SDG

Further Links