The Strategic Investment Fund funds agricultural development in Africa and Asia.
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We bring depth of experience to every investment, with a proven track record across sectors and scale.
By SD Author QA Engg
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  1. Theoretically, monoclonal antibodies hold huge potential for safe and highly effective new global health products.
  2. Our investment attempted to turn theory into product within this emerging class of drugs.
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  1. When a mobile payments platform in Bangladesh achieved product-market-fit, our investment helped it scale in low-income, rural areas.

Working capital is critical for the small and growing agribusinesses/cooperatives that facilitate smallholder farmers’ access to markets.

 

SITUATION-

  • In Bangladesh, three-quarters of adults live on less than $2.50 a day and most poor households operatealmost entirely within the cash economy. In 2013, only 20% of adults had a formal financial services account.
  • This means these families must save in physical assets, such as livestock or jewelry. Cash gets spent, animals die, and jewelry can be lost or stolen. What’s more, these forms of savings earn no interest and often lose value over time.
  • To send money to family, those without a bank account must rely on couriers or friends who carry cash by bus, which is expensive, insecure, and slow. To borrow money in an emergency, they turn to moneylenders who charge notoriously high interest rates.
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Following the initial success of M-Pesa in Kenya, our Financial Services for the Poor colleagues identified mobile payments as a key strategy to broaden the reach of low-cost digital financial services for the poor. In Bangladesh, 63% of adults owned a SIM card, a key to accessing mobile money – three times the percentage that had a formal financial services account. In partnership with BRAC Bank and local serial entrepreneurs Kamal and Iqbal Quadir, the foundation provided grant funding to help establish bKash in 2010.

 

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We invest in life sciences and agriculture innovation across the United States and Europe; education and economic-opportunity development in the U.S.; and scaling tech-enabled innovations across healthcare, agriculture, financial services, and women's innovation throughout South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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