Desjardins Group has launched the Aequitas fund, a private investment impact fund that seeks to support developing countries as well as promote gender equality, combat climate change and contribute to achieving other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The fund will initially start at $50 million, and will be managed by Fonidi Management Inc., a subsidiary of Développement international Desjardins (DID).
Once other investors join the fund — and that can include institutional, impact, public and private investors — Desjardins said in a release that it has committed to investing an additional $15 million.
To secure high-quality investments that are focused on making a difference, Desjardins said the fund will offer patient capital (i.e. capital that’s willing to assume higher risk and lower returns) to the inclusive finance sector. It will start by focusing on small institutions across the globe that are “too often overlooked by large investment funds,” and the regions will include Africa, Latin America and Asia.
Institutions will be assessed based on their financial soundness and “the measures they’re taking to contribute to gender equality and environmental protection,” for example.
Focusing on developing countries is important because “the Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating repercussions in emerging and developing countries that affect women, young people, farmers and micro- and small businesses in particular,” said Guy Cormier, president and CEO of Desjardins Group.