Under the theme ‘Investing for the Sustainable Development Goals in Emerging and Frontier Markets,’ Bamboo Capital Partners, the asset management arm of Palladium’s impact investing business, has released its 2022 Impact report. The annual report captures the organisation’s work across over 30 countries to help entrepreneurs bring affordable and quality essential services to low-income populations.
Bamboo is celebrating several victories this year, including the successful exits from Banco Popular, Kopo Kopo, and Banco W, and investments in clean energy and agritech startups through its Off Grid Electricity Fund and BLOC Smart Africa.
For Bamboo CEO, David Grimaud, the year highlighted the organisation’s critical role in pushing the impact investing sector forward. “Bamboo has continued to push for a system-change structure that allows specialised impact investors to remain focused on their investment work with the ‘missing middle’ segment of small businesses in emerging markets,” he says. “This is all while collectively getting to scale, so that we can finally tap into the institutional investor market.”
Across all of Bamboo’s funds as of December 2022, over 99 million people received financial services that they would not otherwise have been able to access, further solidifying the organisation’s focus on both supporting people without access to traditional banks and strengthening microbusinesses, which form the backbone of many a national economy.
The 2022 Impact report details how cumulatively, Bamboos’ investee companies and funds have positively impacted over 104 million people through access to solar energy, avoided 17.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, supported the Fairtrade certification of 3 farmer cooperatives, representing 39,811 farmers, and helped create nearly 60,000 jobs within investee companies. These funds and companies span sectors, from agriculture and technology to financial inclusion and energy access, but no matter the sector or focus, all contribute to the UN’s SDGs.
Putting the SDGs First
As global conflicts and crises worsened, slowing down, and hampering progress towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in 2022, Bamboo’s mission towards supporting the recovery of developing economies and contributing to the SDGs in a holistic way remained the same across the year.
“By providing financing where it is most needed by those most affected by these crises, Bamboo offers innovative financing solutions to businesses in emerging and frontier markets serving the needs of low-to middle-income populations through essential products and services,” explains Marie Puaux, Bamboo Head of Impact Management.
“Each fund that we manage has its own investment strategy, but all aim to contribute to positive impact towards the SDGs in their target countries by supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) facing the ‘missing middle’ in terms of financing options,” Puaux adds.
Everything Bamboo does continues to focus on that ‘missing middle’, which refers to SMEs that are too large to be served by microfinance institutions and yet too small and high risk for the more formal banking sector to support. This group are often left without access to critical financial services, despite the significant role they play in broader economies.
For Florian Kemmerich, Bamboo Managing Partner and Head of Palladium’s Fund Placement team, technology is critical. “Technology can streamline the distribution of vital financial services necessary to propel the growth of recipients’ businesses and substantiate personal assets and credit history, especially for those previously underserved by the local banking system due to a lack of collateral or record of credit.”
Bamboo’s BLOC Smart Africa, a blended finance tech impact fund, is dedicated to harnessing the potential of technology to extend affordable and transparent access to essential products and services. In 2022 alone, it disbursed over €2.2 million to technology-based businesses in Africa. “The breadth and significance of the supported startups and early-stage initiatives, which empower services necessary for health and quality of life, cannot be understated,” Kemmerich stresses.
For Palladium, Bamboo’s work continues to be critical to increasing and amplifying positive impact on a global scale. Together, Bamboo and Palladium manage private and public funds in 90 countries and mobilised more than US $2.8 billion of impact investment in 2022.
Read more in the Bamboo Capital Partners 2022 Impact report.