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Innovative financing for sustainable small and medium enterprises in Africa

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This report is the result of an international workshop on ‘Innovative Financing for Sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises in Africa’, jointly undertaken by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEPFI) and the WWF, with support from the Geneva International Academic Network (RUIG-GIAN) and the International Organizations MBA at the University of Geneva. This workshop convened experts in small and medium enterprise (SME) financing and sustainability coming from public, private and philanthropic investment communities, as well as Africa-based organizations working on SME financing. Parallel research was conducted on the topics of ‘Financing Mechanisms for Sustainable SMEs’, ‘What is a Sustainable SME?’ and ‘Risk Mitigation Mechanisms for Investing in Sustainable SMEs’ conducted respectively by UNEPFI, WWF and DeRisk advisory Services, a development finance intermediary. Drawing on the research of WWF and DeRisk, aims of this report are three-fold:

  1. Draw the attention of development, philanthropic and private finance communities to the opportunities in investing in sustainable SMEs, and provide them with a better understanding of the issues surrounding this subject.
  2. Highlight innovative financing models, through illustrative case-studies of funds investing in sustainable SMEs in Africa.
  3. Present the inputs received from the workshop participants on how to best scale innovative models and create an environment conducive for increased private investment.

The report is intended for investors, fund managers, financial institutions, SMEs and policy makers.

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