SOUTH AFRICA – Thirdway Investment Partners, Black-owned infrastructure investor and asset manager, has partnered with Maia Capital Partners to  launch a R3 billion (US$176.88m) impact investing fund – the Maia Debt Impact Fund I – as one of the post-Covid-19 economy reset measures to build an inclusive and resilient economy.

The asset manager said this initiative aimed to give institutional investors exposure to social infrastructure investments in education, healthcare, affordable housing and others, to enable inclusive growth by making investments that positively impacted society while delivering competitive commercial returns.

Maia chairperson Mutle Mogase said with public debt expected to reach 104 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by end of 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government’s high debt levels and budget deficit were unsustainable, and left very limited room for the government to drive capital investments.

“Our purpose is to harness the power of private capital to drive investments that make a positive impact in people’s lives while generating a good return on capital invested,” he said.

Mogase said some of the unique features included an impact measurement matrix that measured the financial returns, as well as all the impact factors aligned to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals that aligned with the Fund’s investment themes.

“We aim is to measure and monitor the multidimensional returns yielded through the capital invested so that we can measure the contribution we’re making towards an inclusive economy,” he said.

Speaking at the Thirdway Leadership Dialogue webinar to mark the launch of the Maia Debt Impact Fund, former Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas said there was no shortage of money, but if your pipeline was weak, you were unlikely to attract investments.

“If you don’t have the capacity to package projects and push them up to bankable and investable stage, you are not going to get private investments coming into the space.

Maia has a strong pipeline of projects, according to IOL Business Report, that have been identified to the tune of R1billionn (US$58.96m) across their investment themes.

Jonas emphasised the importance of a correct and certain regulatory environment that is similar to the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPP) where close to R200billion (US$11.79m) of private investments were unlocked for renewable energy projects in South Africa.

Maia chief executive Dinao Lerutla said with the majority of South Africans still lacking basic services such as access to quality education, proper sanitation and affordable healthcare, their initiative sought to invest in quality social infrastructure assets to help the majority of South Africans to be active participants in the mainstream economy.

She said financial and gender inclusion would become major features of this Impact Fund to promote access to sustainable and affordable financial products by the majority of South Africans and increased participation of women in the mainstream economy.

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