Hivos opens doors for collaboration at Egypt’s Venture Capital Summit

December 6, 2023

Last November, Cairo hosted the second edition of the Venture Capital Summit, a pivotal event in Egypt. The summit’s goal is to enhance Egypt’s standing as a regional hub for venture capital and a gateway for investments into Africa and the Middle East, fostering collaboration between foreign investors and regional VC funds.

This year’s edition focused on: family offices, impact investing, local financial institutions, regulatory policy, and venture capital— all critical tracks aimed at stimulating the country’s economic growth.

Impact investing

Noteworthy in this edition was the impact investing track, hosted by Hivos and EVPA with generous support from the European Commission. A panel featuring Hivos Business Development Manager for the Climate Justice portfolio, Mariam Abdelkarim, discussed the theme “Impact Investing: The African and MENA Imperative.” Insightful conversations with panelists delved into opportunities, key attractions, and ecosystem initiatives in Africa and the Middle East. “Impact investing holds a significant potential for generating sizeable returns and promising opportunities in the Middle East and Africa,” several panelists said.

Impact investing policies and opportunities

Hivos also facilitated a roundtable discussion with ChangeLabs on impact investing policies in Egypt and Africa. Representatives from venture capital firms, impact funds, and sector experts shared valuable thoughts on the policy landscape and best practices in the region.

According to one representative, “Africa provides an interesting case for learning more about and developing impact investing in the Middle East. There are many potential opportunities in the region that could be harnessed with further support from policy makers and ecosystem players.”

Hivos and ChangeLabs will be following up with a joint policy brief on effective investment strategies in the region.

Opening doors and dispelling misconceptions

Mariam Abdelkarim saw that Hivos’ role as panel moderator and side event host gave summit attendees a better understanding of our work. “This opened doors for discussions with venture capital stakeholders. It became clear that collaboration is possible, be it with organizations or individuals,” she said.

Abdelkarim added that Keith Wallace, Senior Investment Manager at Hivos Impact Investment, played a pivotal role in breaking down the perceived separation between development and investments. He dispelled misconceptions about the separate arm of impact investment, and attendees found it intriguing that Hivos has a private sector arm working with investments, complementing our development and granting work.

After this successful experience at the Venture Capital Summit, which revealed the interconnectedness of development and private sector initiatives within our overarching goals, we are hoping to foster new collaborations with impact investors in the region.

Impact Investment

Impact investments can be a crucial tool to switch to a sustainable, inclusive and green economy. Why? Long-term impact investments create lasting social and environmental benefits as well as economic returns. And there is a strong correlation between the health of the small business community, economic growth, and combatting unemployment.

Our work with the Challenge Fund for a Just Transition is a good example. This program aims to contribute to climate change mitigation by supporting green Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) in North Africa and providing sustainable decent jobs for more than 10.000 people in the region’s green transition process.