"Social change through investments"
Valens Emerging Markets was founded with the objective to invest in emerging and frontier markets to positively impact economic development. We are especially interested in infrastructure, real estate, energy, education, healthcare, financial inclusion and agriculture. We believe working collaboratively to create impact. Our teams consist of core staff based in London, and in-country leads.
Under the umbrella of Valens Holdings, a listed financial services group, Valens Emerging Markets has been created (VEM). VEM has been formed as an investment company. Its primary focus is to invest in a range of business projects in emerging and frontier markets. VEM seeks to prioritise projects as well as sectors important for economic growth. We believe that infrastructure (digital, transport, commercial or residential) is a fundamental cornerstone of that goal.
We seek to invest in commercially viable projects/companies that create above market financial returns while also creating positive social impact. We focus especially on supporting innovative entrepreneurs whose operations contribute to the proliferation of services to communities in need. This approach looks directly to the achievement of sustainable development goals as a driver for investment decisions. We seek to capitalise on the growth potential of emerging markets and achieve a high social return on investments.
The firm recognises the role that business can play in contributing to inclusion and stability by using the power of economic growth to cross long-standing fault lines between divided communities. High profile examples exist around the world – from Northern Island to Bosnia to Colombia – where investment contributions to job creation and local economic development have had a direct and measurable impact on reducing conflict and contributing to peace building efforts.
As a result of this small but significant precedent, VEM works with International Communities Organisation to identify investment opportunities that work towards SDG 16.
Working in Partnership with ICO
Investments, which take into consideration the difficulties of conflict affected regions, can help reduce the propensity for violence and begin to present inclusive viable alternatives. There is systematic evidence using country-level analysis that poverty and low-income increases the likelihood of conflict.
On a micro-level, it is argued that providing job opportunities and increasing economic opportunities can stop combatants from re-entering into conflicts or participate in illicit employment and crime. Overall economic development and growth can have a positive impact on the reconciliation process and mitigate “spoilers” in the reconciliation process. Foreign direct investment flows have the potential to bring much needed capital, generate employment, increase tax revenues and transfer new skills to a developing country. However, to achieve these benefits and sustain them in the long run, a multitude of stakeholders with a varied range of expertise are needed to figure how value is added to local communities in a genuine way.
International Communities Organisation is driven by the belief that communities have the right to develop the political, economic, and cultural systems in which they live and that, the infringement of that right exacerbates tensions and sustains underdevelopment. ICO therefore supports locally born initiatives to provide communities with the means to realise their ideas and impact change peacefully. ICO's focus learning from local know-how provides VEM with a both a network and framework to deliver financial capital that will improve the lives of communities.