Bridging the Gap: Unlocking Synergies between Private Sector Development and Development Finance

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Photo credit: Mwangi Kirubi/USAID
Photo credit: Mwangi Kirubi/USAID

Private Sector Development (PSD) initiatives – in particular those aiming to drive innovation, economic growth, and job creation – often depend on significant investment to achieve their objectives. Equally, Development Finance Institutions and impact investors can benefit from the wider market-shaping activities of PSD programs. This synergy creates exciting opportunities for collaboration and greater impact. 

On April 26, 2022, speakers discussed if and how PSD initiatives can benefit from greater collaboration with development finance, and to explore what development organizations and practitioners can learn from the recent study: Bridging the Gap - Unlocking Synergies between Private Sector Development and Development Finance. British International Investment (formerly CDC) and Gatsby Africa presented findings from the study looking at how PSD and development finance are currently collaborating and the challenges/opportunities the agenda presents. Speakers shared a diverse set of examples that demonstrated interest from both sides to explore alignment with a range of models – from PSD donors and programs including investment within their toolkits to the USAID INVEST and FCDO Manufacturing Africa programs that aim to provide investment support to PSD initiatives.

Panelists 

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Alex Kucharski

Alex Kucharski
British International Investment 

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Arjun Bhoopal

Arjun Bhoopal
Gatsby Africa

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Irene Hu

Irene Hu
Independent Consultant

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Justin van Rhyn

Justin Van Rhyn
Independent Consultant

Biographies 

Alex Kucharski
Organization: British International Investment 

Alex Kucharski is a Manager at British International Investment (formerly CDC Group), the UK’s development finance institution which invests in the private sector in Africa and South Asia. He is part of the BII Plus team, BII’s technical assistance facility which helps deepen the development impact of BII’s portfolio and unlock impactful investment opportunities in priority sectors and geographies. Alex leads the provision of technical assistance to financial institutions as well as on programmes that help unlock investments in frontier markets (such as Nepal, Ghana, and Uganda) which aim to build a nexus between private sector development and development finance.

Prior to BII, Alex managed large private sector development programmes providing technical assistance and risk capital to businesses with a focus on West Africa. The programmes Alex managed embedded a market systems development approach with a sector focus on agriculture, agro-processing, last-mile distribution, and renewable energy. Alex lived and worked in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana, the Philippines, Poland, the UK, and the USA; and has project experience in Myanmar, Nepal, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Arjun Bhoopal
Organization: Gatsby Africa

Arjun Bhoopal is Head of Partnerships at Gatsby Africa, which is a private foundation supporting sector transformation in East Africa. Over the past 3 years, Arjun has provided strategy back-stopping to Gatsby’s programmes in livestock, agricultural inputs, and water. He has also led Gatsby conversations with FSD Africa and British International Investment (formerly CDC) to explore how sector transformation programming can align with development finance in a more strategic way.

Prior to joining Gatsby Africa, Arjun has worked in sustainability and private sector development through roles at PwC, Save the Children, and Unicef, focusing on ways in which business can make a positive impact.

Irene Hu
Organization: Independent Consultant

Irene has 10+ years of experience in management consulting and financial advisory, focusing on emerging markets. She was previously an Associate Partner at Open Capital Advisors and has been based in-market in Kenya for the last 6+ years, working with businesses, investors, and development partners on growth and investment facilitation across 10+ countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has led multi-year USAID initiatives (PACE IRP, TRAIN) combining TA with impact investor partnerships to facilitate over $30m in investment ($50k - $500K ticket sizes) in East Africa.

Justin Van Rhyn
Organization: Independent Consultant

Justin is an inclusive growth consultant with 13 years of experience across market systems development, youth employment and investment-linked technical assistance with clients including FCDO, BII (formerly CDC Group), ILO, World Bank, and Sida. He has advised and managed a range of large-scale market systems programs, including resident roles in Kenya and Nepal. Over the past two years, Justin has completed a series of advisory assignments for BII, including supporting a Covid-19 technical assistance facility for investee businesses; co-designing a market shaping initiative for African forestry; and most recently co-authoring the "Bridging the Gap" study. Justin was previously Head of Inclusive Markets at Adam Smith International (ASI), overseeing delivery of an £80m+ program portfolio across Africa and South Asia.


 

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