Social Impact Investment: Increasing Private Sector Investment to address Economic, Social, and Environmental Challenges

Private investors and philanthropic agencies are increasingly investing in firms and social enterprises that provide socially valued goods and services. The social impact investment market is now global in scope and it is rapidly expanding in some low- and middle-income countries. This project examines the contribution and the future potential of social impact investing to address environmental, social, and economic challenges. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Social Impact Initiative seeks to understand these trends and develop standards to support the growth of the industry and the development of supportive public policy. IDRC's contribution to the Social Impact Initiative will fund background research and data collection, a policy-practitioner workshop, and case studies to examine the impact and implications for public policy of current investments in selected African countries. The objectives of the project are: to increase the understanding of private sector investment in Africa within the broader context of the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the role of the public sector in facilitating private funding; to further knowledge of private sector financing instruments and their applicability to technology-intensive sectors across different country settings in Africa; and to identify opportunities and challenges for private sector impact-focused investing in Africa.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Thursday, September 21, 2017


12 months

IDRC Officer

David O'Brien

Total funding

CA$ 125,000


North of Sahara, South of Sahara


Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

Dr. Karen Wilson


Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development/Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques

Institution Country


Institution Website