FG Okays Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF)

FG Okays Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF)

…commits to 50% seed capital for its establishment

The Federal Government has given its official endorsement and support for the establishment of the Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF) and committed to providing 50% seed capital for its take-off.

At a high-level roundtable meeting on the establishment of the Nigerian WIIF held in Abuja on Thursday, 25th May, 2023, the ,Minister of State, Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, endorsed the the Nigerian WIIF as an alternative instrument for the effective implementation of public welfare and social schemes, while delivering his opening statement.

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The minister commended the dedicated efforts of the technical committee led by the Permanent Secretary of Finance, Mr Aliyu Ahmed.

The Nigeria Wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF) was conceived and championed  by concerned stakeholders comprising the National Advisory Board for Impact Investing (NABII), Impact Investors’ Foundation (IIF), Ford Foundation, and Nigeria Competitiveness Project (a GIZ-funded programme) – who worked closely with the Federal Government to create a roadmap for its establishment.

The Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund was created to drive sustainable and impactful investment in the country by channeling financial resources into projects and enterprises that generate positive social and environmental outcomes, alongside financial returns.

FG Okays Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF)

FG Okays Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund (WIIF)

Chairperson, Nigerian National Advisory Board of Impact Investing (NABII), Mrs Ibukun AwosikaMinister of State, Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Prince Clem AgbaPermanent Secretary of the Ministry Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mr Aliyu Ahmed; and Director General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha, at a roundtable meeting on the establishment of Nigerian WIIF held in Abuja on Thursday, 25th May 2023.

Prince Clem emphasized the opportunities identified in the National Development Plan 2021-2025 for impactful investments such as “scaling up renewable energy capacities, utilizing natural resources for import substitution and enhanced foreign exchange, building a circular economy, and improving the bio-economy.” 

He encouraged all stakeholders present to “assess the challenges within their communities and consider how capital could be directed towards generating long-term, sustainable solutions.”

The roundtable was attended by top government officials, industry experts, development partners, and other relevant stakeholders who shared diverse perspectives and insights to inform the design, structure, and strategic direction of the Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund.

The Chairperson of NABII, Mrs Ibukun Awosika, expressed her gratitude to the Minister of Finance, Budget, and Planning, as well as the Minister of State for Budgets and Planning, for their dedicated partnership, support and commitment to the project, which had been instrumental to its success. 

Having served on the ITF Task Force for Impact, and currently serving on the Global Steering Group Board for Impact Investing, Mrs Awosika highlighted the extensive work conducted globally between 2021 and 2022 on impact and achieving effective results, with a focus on Africa. 

Mrs Awosika identified education and agriculture as priority sectors for impact investing, as well as the empowerment of Nigerian youth and women.

She emphasized that collaboration between the public and private sectors was not a matter of choice but a necessity, adding that “Nigeria cannot solely fund the necessary changes and transformation required to improve the lives of its people. Impact investing has emerged as a significant tool for such partnerships, providing an avenue for making a difference.”

The Nigeria Country Director of GIZ, Dr Markus Wagner, described the launch of the Nigerian Wholesale Impact Investment Fund as a strong demonstration of the Nigerian government’s commitment to supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises in accessing finance, particularly within the agricultural, educational, and health sectors.

Dr Wagner underscored the importance of creating a sustainable financing mechanism to address the financing gap, which currently stands at approximately N13 trillion, as indicated by a recent International Finance Corporation (IFC) report.

He expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the Honourable Minister of State for spearheading the initiative and championing impact investment while commending the NABII and the Impact Investor Foundation (IIF) for their continuous efforts in driving the promotion of the impact investment ecosystem in Nigeria.

Also speaking at the meeting, a Representative of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Mr Alexandra Gomes, called on the government to provide a supportive framework for initiatives like the Nigerian WIIF, as financing alone was insufficient to ensure their success.

The fund was also endorsed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) represented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, who pointed out the need for innovative thinking and the reimagination of social impact investment initiatives.

The Director General, Debt Management Office, (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha, expressed support for the governance structure put in place for the fund and encouraged active support from all stakeholders to ensure its success.

The Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Lamido Yuguda, highlighted the significance of investment in driving economic growth and acknowledged the pressing needs of Nigeria’s young population, particularly in education, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors.

Prof. Mukhtar Ibrahim, who represented the Director-General of Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER), Prof. Antonia T. Simbine, stated that a research conducted by NISER had identified various players in the impact investing ecosystem comprising the demand pipeline, business development service providers, accelerators, incubators, and enterprises of different sizes.

He said, “As a fund of funds, a critical issue that needs to be addressed is how to structure a cascade model for the WIIF pipeline, where some actors simultaneously play the roles of investors and investees.”