BoP Basic Services Track

2014 – 2017

After three productive and engaging years dedicated to building a community of investors interested in financing access to basic services, the GIIN BoP Basic Services Track came to a close at the end of 2017. The BoP Basic Services Track was the first dedicated programming Track within the GIIN membership, and was made possible with support from the U.K. Government through the Department for International Development’s Impact Programme.

Since the Track’s founding, we had the pleasure of hosting numerous in-person events in cities around the world such as New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Nairobi, and Mumbai. We hosted over 10 webinars addressing key issues faced by basic services investors, published two Network Insights reports (Impact Measurement in the Clean Energy Sector and Impact Measurement in the Healthcare Sector), and established three iterations of the Basic Services Investor Directory – a valuable resource created to connect potential co-investors, thought partners, and collaborators interested in financing access to basic services in emerging markets.

Among the Track’s final deliverables is an online repository of industry resources on alternative structures for early-stage impact investing. The purpose of the repository is to aggregate available and emerging industry resources and examples to help investors better understand how and when to consider alternative investment structures. If you are interested in contributing, please contact Kathryn Savasuk at ksavasuk@thegiin.org.

Going forward, we hope to continue to engage you in learning and discussing matters related to BoP investing in emerging markets as part of the GIIN’s other membership offerings, including the Blended Finance Working Group, the Gender Lens Investing Initiative, and the Climate Investing Track as well as the Frontier Finance Working Group, which will tackle many of the financing challenges for early-stage impact investing that we discussed in detail as part of the BoP track over the years.

Overview

People living at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid (BoP) in developing countries often have limited or no access to basic services such as healthcare, education, clean energy, water, and sanitation. This results in poorer health, lower incomes, and reduced economic and social prosperity for those underserved by existing systems. As demand for quality, affordable, and appropriate BoP basic services continues to grow, impact investors play an increasingly important role in providing capital and market solutions to fill the gap in provision.

To help realize the full potential of impact investments in basic services, the GIIN managed the BoP Basic Services Track to offer members active or interested in this area dedicated opportunities to exchange learnings, tackle shared challenges, and collaborate on emerging opportunities.

Key Objectives and Activities

Supported by a grant from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the Track aimed to enhance the performance and impact of investments in BoP basic services by:

  • Creating a community of investors with shared interest in basic services in emerging markets. Participants interacted with peers and tapped into a powerful network of like-minded practitioners around specific issues or opportunities.
  • Facilitating collaboration across GIIN Membership (Investors’ Council and Network members). Participants collaborated and shared knowledge and expertise to refine thinking around approaches to investment and impact measurement.
  • Facilitating deployment of new capital into investments benefitting BoP populations. Members participating in the Track benefitted from reduced search and transaction costs and a better understanding of business models, investment strategies and structures, and BoP markets.

The BoP Basic Services Track offered Investors’ Council and Network Members a range of activities, including webinars, roundtables, and special projects.

Focus Areas

The BoP Basic Services Track focused on South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, but also incorporated perspectives from other developing regions to enrich dialogues and contribute to cross-regional learning. In addition, several key themes relevant to impact investors drove the Track’s activities, including:

  • Hallmarks of successful business models: Examined success factors and pitfalls of business models providing access to basic services for the BoP, including cross-subsidization models, consumer finance models, and distribution platforms.
  • Best practices in investment strategies, processes, and structures: Shared learnings in key areas of the investment process – such as due diligence, deal structure, or provision of technical assistance – and codified best practices in investment strategies, structures, and processes.
  • Approaches to defining and measuring impact in basic services sectors: Identified metrics, methodologies, and assumptions used by investors to measure impact, while discussing challenges and limitations they face.
  • Role of key drivers in the broader ecosystem: Collaborating with impact investors and other relevant stakeholders to deepen understanding and share insights around end users, consumer behavior, and informal BoP markets.

Advisory Committee

An Advisory Committee composed of eight representatives from Investors’ Council members with experience and expertise investing in BoP basic services provided guidance and leadership over the Track. Advisory Committee member organizations included: 

Acumen, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CDC Group PLC, Inter-American Development Bank Group, Lok Capital, Omidyar Network, and responsAbility Investments AG

Current Opportunities for Basic Services Investors to Engage with the GIIN

The GIIN recognizes the crucial role basic services play in developing the impact investing field, and encourages all to engage in the current programmatic workstreams: 

Please contact NetworkMembership@thegiin.org for more information.

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