Reducing Inequality in Kenya through Impact Investment (SDG 10)
It is increasingly being considered the norm that modern, progressive investments should aim to reduce inequalities that correspond to disadvantages and unfairness in opportunities for work, income and living standards.
Sustainable development goal (SDG) 10 - 'Reducing Inequalities' emphasises the need to level the playing field regardless of gender, religion, economic wealth, ethnicity, origin, disabilities and any other statuses. By enabling the function of the charity CMS Africa, Wellers Impact is contributing to SDG 10.
CMS Africa is a charity that aspires to create more opportunities for training in the “Marketplace” for a wide net of people. They run a variety of programmes that are targeted to different audiences and often for people who have disadvantages due to gender, age and family status.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Christian charities in Kenya were given land, often by the government, to allow them to operate and provide essential services; and these plots were on the outskirts of Nairobi. The value of the land changed significantly as Nairobi expanded, and what were plots out of town became central downtown locations and increased considerably in value. However, the charities were and are unable to access the finance to maintain let alone develop these valuable assets and secure a valuable income from them.
In order to maintain the works of CMS Africa, Wellers has managed investment in the construction of a 16-story building in which CMS Africa now own c.20%, and are able to rent out to generate an income. The cash generated through renting these floors allows for a long term, larger operational capability and broader delivery of services.
CMS Africa acknowledges the inequalities and social injustices that lead to disadvantages between people. They offer a variety of educational training opportunities and courses which uniquely provide teaching and training which can be applied to their working lives and careers, including equality in the workplace environment.
In Kenya, around 30% of people employed in 2006 within the services sector were women. Although this statistic has increased to 38.1% in 2020, this increase in female employment has not been observed across all sectors (World Bank Open Data 2020). Often the inequality within these figures relates to a lack of equal opportunities and training between genders.
This impact can be seen across different sectors as only 2.02% of women are employed in the industry sector and only 18.1% of Kenyan firms, in 2018, had a female top manager. It needs to be acknowledged that a high percentage of women are employed in Kenya in the agricultural sector, however, success in agriculture is often more difficult due to gender-related obstacles (Duckett, National Geographic 2020).
These obstacles again reflect female disadvantages that can be observed in both developed and developing countries and can include a lack of access to land, lack of training opportunities and lack of financing, the former obstacle is often considered one of the largest barriers.
In order to reduce inequalities, equal opportunities have to be provided across gender for training, education and for employment. CMS Africa recognised the severe disadvantage that women face and to reduce this inequality, they created a women’s training programme that offers women the opportunity to learn financial skills which can enable them to set up and run small businesses, providing a stable and sustainable income (CMS Africa 2020). Furthermore, this programme is updating its manual to include French and Kiswahili alongside English to allow for more inclusivity to a wider net of individuals.
CMS Africa also offers a Financial Freedom for Families Programme (F4) which similarly offers financial education and support to families that are struggling in the transition from an agrarian economy to the modern economy. F4 highlights the support and contributions of CMS Africa towards SDG 10 with regards to financial help and education regardless of culture and economic wealth.
Another programme which CMS Africa offers provides opportunities which are given non-discriminatory basis within the ministry and opportunities within business, education and the government (CMS Africa 2020). Their Business as Mission (BAM) programme works in partnership with Partners Worldwide to offer opportunities for training within a “Marketplace” setting which includes business management, education and government to individuals.
They emphasise the opportunities to train farmers and agricultural workers in business management as part of their BAM programme which can help improve the lives of communities from a variety of economic backgrounds that may struggle to attain a stable income. Furthermore, the opportunities which are business-oriented are focused on maintaining sustainability and profitability when setting up a business.
The successful partnership between Wellers Impact and CMS Africa shows how impact investment can encourage a charity to become sustainable and positively contribute to SDG 10, Reducing Inequalities.
Wellers Impact is a UK-based, FCA-Regulated Impact Investment Manager which works to unlock community-focused impact through SDG-focused impact investing. Through innovative investment models that utilise fair economics, Wellers Impact originates investment opportunities across three core business activities; real estate developments in partnership with local land-owning not-for-profits in East Africa, financial support for agriculture firms and supply chains globally through sustainable development finance and direct investment into private water, sanitation and plastics recycling firms globally. Investment involves risk. Suitable for Sophisticated, Professional and High Net Worth Investors only.
CMS Africa. 2020. CMS Africa Home - CMS Africa. [online] Available at: <https://www.cms-africa.org/>.
M.E. Ducket, National Geographic. 2020. Empowering Female Farmers. [online] Available at: <https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/03/partner-content-empowering-female-farmers/>.
World Bank Open Data. 2020. World Bank Open Data | Data. [online] Available at: <https://data.worldbank.org/>.