Humanitarian investing gathers speed at WEF

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Humanitarian investing gathers speed at DavosFinding ways to channel more private investment into humanitarian settings was a hot topic this year at the World Economic Forum ’s 48th annual meeting in Switzerland — which included the tentative launch of a development impact bond to create jobs for Syrian refugees.

The IKEA Foundation said it will provide €6.8 million ($7.7 million) to fund the outcomes of the bond, which has been put together by impact finance firm KOIS , and aims to help up to 12,000 Syrian refugees and host populations in Jordan and Lebanon earn a living.

The development impact bond still needs to attract $20 million from other outcome funders, however, if it is to get off the ground.

“We need to … identify more examples of investable propositions which have worked so that they can be replicated, but we shouldn’t confuse things by imagining that businesses want to give a lot of money away to solve humanitarian crises.”

New research by British think tank the Overseas Development Institute shows that job creation activities have the potential to offer a financial and social return on investment.

The forum also saw the official launch of a high-level group on humanitarian investing, headed by WEF, the World Bank, and the International Committee of the Red Cross, which will bring together investors, business leaders, and representatives from the humanitarian and development sectors to “deliver impact through concrete investable projects,”

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