Beginning with an investment in the Sarona Dairy in Paraguay in 1953, MEDA continues to play a leading role in investment for development. In 2018, our investment outreach benefitted over one million households, while 90,000 women, men and youth participated in MEDA programs.
MEDA is experienced in a wide range of investment strategies. We finance investment companies and funds, build platforms that strengthen ecosystems, lead blended finance initiatives, and make direct investments into small and medium enterprises (SMEs). MEDA raises debt and equity from private investors, public sources and institutional donors, either in collaboration with fund management partners or via our own risk capital fund. We are currently developing a gender lens investing fund for which we aim to raise at least $100 million from public and private sources.
To support investments and projects, MEDA develops technical assistance packages, delivering services directly to funds and SMEs, or building the capacity of local partners to do so. Technical assistance can take the form of coaching investment fund managers, managing challenge grant programs for SMEs, training on environment, social and governance (ESG), and gender equality mainstreaming. In MEDA initiatives, we also combine investment with other project activities to accelerate the development of value chains, women’s entrepreneurship, climate-smart agriculture and youth employment.
Approaches and Models
MEDA continues to invest in a wide range of businesses from microfinance banks in Tajikistan and Nicaragua, equipment leasing firms in Tanzania and Ukraine, and agricultural processing companies in Sierra Leone and Paraguay. These investments often align with MEDA projects, enhancing our ability to achieve development impact in countries hampered by a lack of capital.
To support the development of financial ecosystems and outreach to disadvantaged populations, MEDA provides capital to investment companies and funds such as BPI Investment Funds in Sub-Saharan Africa and Women’s World Banking Capital Partners’ global investment fund. We target investments for critical development goals such as green growth, gender inclusion and poverty alleviation.
MEDA strengthens financial ecosystems by establishing and supporting platform initiatives. For example, MEDA brokered the creation of two industry-leading funds with combined assets of almost $600 M – MicroVest, a microfinance asset manager and Sarona Asset Management (Sarona), a private equity investor.
An early leader in blended finance, MEDA has partnered with the Government of Canada to pilot the use of concessionary finance to raise private capital for development-related investments. We are also engaged with a range of public and private partners in the structuring and capitalization of a new gender lens fund to be deployed globally.
Examples of MEDA's Work
Aligning investment and programmatic support, MEDA works with donors and partners to implement a diverse set of initiatives which are often global in outreach, but also regional or country-specific.
SME Investment - Mobile Payments
Zoona, Zambia 2011 - 2019
$750,000 | $410,000 Technical Assistance
In 2011, MEDA made an equity investment and delivered technical assistance to Zoona to promote greater financial inclusion throughout Zambia and Malawi. Today, Zoona is a leader in mobile payments combining proprietary payment technology with an agent network of 2500 outlets, enabling customers to transact easily, quickly, safely and cheaply. The value of MEDA’s investment as of June 2018 has grown to $2.7 million.
SME Investment Company
BPI Investment Fund, East Africa
$2 million investment
BPI East Africa is a US$ 36M perpetual investment fund serving Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Modeled on BPI’s successful Southern Africa fund, BPI EA was launched in 2016 to finance the missing middle – investing $50,000 to $1 million into SMEs as non-collateralized loans that pay interest plus success fees (royalties). BPI also offers technical assistance to improve business results and governance, while MEDA serves as chair of the Board.
Platform Build - Microfinance Investment Company
MicroVest (founded in 2003)
25% owndership by MEDA
MicroVest was created as a private investment firm to target clients at the base of the socioeconomic pyramid. Since inception, MicroVest has invested $1BN of debt and equity financing to over 85 financial institutions in 30 countries around the globe including challenging environments such as Myanmar and Pakistan. MicroVest is owned by MEDA, Care USA, the Cordes Foundation and the MicroVest management team.
Blended Finance - Global Outreach
Impact Investing in Frontier Markets (INFRONT) 2013-2017
$20 million - Global Affairs Canada ($15 million capital; $5 million grant) | Sarona Frontier Market Fund 2 $150 million
Through the INFRONT project, MEDA’s investment partner Sarona Asset Management (Sarona) leveraged $15 million from the Government of Canada to raise $50 million from OPIC and crowd in $85 million of private capital. Investments were made in 16 private equity funds in emerging markets supporting the development of local investment ecosystems. MEDA provided technical assistance to improve ESG outcomes, spur innovation among SMEs, deliver a social impact measurement framework, and conduct a mentorship program for early-stage investment firms.