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Can impact investing in countries like Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Argentina and Brazil fight inequality and boost social outcomes, perhaps even more systemically than traditional development efforts?
The bulk of the 565 million people in Latin America are now middle income. At this week’s Latin America Impact Investing Forum in Merida, Mexico, the question of just what is “impact” is high on the agenda. Need and opportunity are converging to drive the growth of impact investing in the region. More than $10 billion in impact investing assets now sit in Latin America, according to the latest Global Impact Investing Network research.
What is impact? The answer, as impact investing expands globally and in Latin America, will likely define whether current efforts really do reshape historically unbalanced economic systems.
“This movement is going to redefine the capital markets,” Amit Bhatia, head of the Global Steering Group for Impact Investing, said in his opening address at FLII.
Magma partner Nathan Lustig created a stir when he told ImpactAlpha most investments in Latin America should be considered impact investments “if they’re creating jobs, training employees, and seeding the next generation of entrepreneurs, while not creating an extractive business model.
Instead of tech driving impact, maybe impact can guide tech investing. So says, Marcelo de la Garza, a partner at Auria Capital, a Monterrey, Mexico-based family office. Auria is an investor in impact funds from Adobe Capital, which in October announced a $21 million first close of its second fund. Adobe targets growth-stage companies delivering healthcare, education, affordable housing, and energy services to low and middle-income Mexicans. Adobe’s “impact” lens, de la Garza told ImpactAlpha in an earlier interview, gives Auria access to a new crop of companies that were serious about serving Mexico’s emerging middle market. “In Mexico, that’s very profitable,” he said.
Read the full article about impact investing in Latin America by Dennis Price at Impact Alpha.