Media statement: EWB responds to PM’s announcement on Development Finance Institution
Toronto, May 5, 2017 – In response to today’s announcement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that Canada’s Development Finance Institution will be based in Montreal, Canada, Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) issued the following statement from James Haga, VP of Strategy and Investment:
“We are encouraged by today’s news as another step towards operationalizing Canada’s DFI in an effort to provide more critical resources and expertise to address global poverty with the involvement of youth and women entrepreneurs. EWB has championed this approach since 2013 and supports the DFI as a critical investment vehicle that will allow our government to fill the gaps left by private finance, all the while crowding in a diverse range of investors eager to take advantage of opportunities in frontier and developing markets.
We commend Canada for taking this approach to tackling poverty and supporting women and youth-led businesses particularly the commitment to reaching the poorest and most vulnerable. This requires significant support to social-impact focused enterprises that most DFIs typically have not yet dared to engage with. While Canada is the last of the G7 countries to establish a DFI, it would be an act of leadership and innovation to direct its DFI to invest in a broad range of businesses, with part of the portfolio specifically designed to support social-impact focused early-stage enterprises that serve the needs of the poorest and hardest to reach populations.
While most DFIs concentrate on investments that provide both reasonable commercial returns and vital job creation, we are looking to Canada to structure the DFI in a more risk-tolerant way with a diversified portfolio. We hope to see investments in innovative early-stage enterprises that can develop scalable, impact-oriented business models focused on benefiting the poorest and most vulnerable who are most systemically excluded from today’s economy. We call on Canada to dedicate 15% of the DFI’s $300 million towards this.
Together with a well-managed foreign aid program, this DFI can pack a powerful punch in Canada’s efforts to address global inequality and deeply entrenched poverty.”
EWB Backgrounder on DFI (2017)
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