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RENEW Update

By Matthew Davis, CFA | Fri Jan 18 2013
The RENEW team is back in Addis!
After almost a month of traveling around Europe and the U.S. meeting with investors and business executives interested in Ethiopia's growing private sector, we're excited to be back in Ethiopia to begin preparing for a number of investor trips we will be hosting over the next several months. As part of RENEW's effort to build a business and investment bridge between Ethiopia and the U.S. and Europe, I'd like to share some of the feedback we gathered during our recent meetings.
The RENEW team started our tour in December with a return to Norway. Yes, it was cold. Our partners in Oslo had arranged a number of meetings with investors we had met with in October and with some Members of Parliament. During the investor meetings, Norwegians were clearly excited about the potential, and asked specific questions about "how an investment in an Ethiopian company would work." Specifically, they wanted to know about exit strategies, repatriation of capital, taxation and the risks of inflation. The MPs were interested in RENEW's model of partnering with development organizations to lower the transaction costs and risks for investors. There seems to be a growing interest for these types of programs vs. traditional aid programs.
In the U.S., we took a week off to visit with family and friends, then we traveled to Denver, Colorado and Charlotte, North Carolina to meet with more investors. No, we didn't ski in Colorado. Yes, I wish we had. During these meetings we learned about a growing frustration wealthy philanthropists have with traditional giving and how many want to move towards more impact investment solutions (Read more about the trend.). Not surprisingly, we also met with some NGOs and faith-based organizations working in Ethiopia that want to start impact investment programs as well. The shift is happening. We are tentatively planning a meeting in Denver, CO in the late spring or early summer for a forum around impact investment strategies in Ethiopia!
We have a number of investors coming to Ethiopia over the next three months and we are looking forward to introducing them to many Ethiopian entrepreneurs and showing them the great investment potential here.
Happy 2013! And if you are in Ethiopia...Happy Timkat!
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