October 25, 2018 – The Refugee Investment Network (RIN) was announced today as the first impact investing and blended finance collaborative dedicated to creating sustainable solutions to global forced migration. By working with groups from all sides – investors, governments, donors, and host and refugee populations – the RIN will help unlock private capital to spur growth, create jobs, and lead to social and economic prosperity for refugees and host communities.
Today, more than 68 million people have been forcibly displaced worldwide – 25 million of whom are refugees – making it the highest number in human history. While an increasing number of humanitarian efforts strive to create and expand economic growth for refugees in host countries, private investors and capital are often missing from the equation. Investors coming from across the capital continuum (from both social and traditional investment communities) have shown significant interest, but they often do not know where to begin, as the investment landscape in forced migration settings remains highly fragmented and undefined.
The RIN was created in response to these intersecting challenges and has set out to prove that refugees and other displaced communities are investable. “This is the defining social crisis of our time,” said RIN Founder and Managing Director John W. Kluge. “It requires urgent, scalable, and economically sustainable solutions – that’s where investment comes in and can make an enormous difference.”
The RIN is led by Kluge as Founder and Managing Director and Tim Docking as Managing Director, and is incubated at the Global Development Incubator. The Founding Partners of the RIN are the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and the Landry Family Foundation, and the RIN is supported by USA for UNHCR. The RIN is guided by a steering committee including representatives from Acumen, Bain Capital Double Impact, BCG, Catholic Charities, Center for Strategic and International Studies, CFA Institute, COBURWAS, Developing World Markets, Emerging Capital Partners, Humanitarian Ventures, ImpactAssets, Innovest Advisory, Kiva, Morgan Stanley, OPIC, Pershing Square Foundation, the Radcliffe Foundation, RefugePoint, Tent Foundation, University of Virginia, and the U.S. African Development Foundation.
“Our mission is to protect refugees and empower them with hope and opportunity. Each sector has a role to play, and private investors will be catalytic partners in helping forcibly displaced people rebuild their lives,” said Anne-Marie Grey, Executive Director and CEO of USA for UNHCR.
Drawing on conversations with over 200 interested and concerned organizations and individuals over the past nine months, the RIN validated a pressing need for a neutral intermediary to make it possible for investors to engage in the emerging area of “refugee investments.” To do so, the RIN is focusing on the key pillars of research, facilitation, and policy.
The RIN released foundational research today through the report Paradigm Shift: How investment can unlock the potential of refugees that presents the defined, growing, and diversifying refugee investment landscape today – highlighting the why, how, what, and where for deals supporting refugees and introducing the RIN’s framework for refugee lens investing.
In response to these opportunities and gaps in the market, the RIN is already facilitating investment opportunities in support of refugees including a multi-country microfinance fund for displaced entrepreneurs, Jordan-focused asset management company allocating one-third of investments in support of refugees, and a blended finance rural infrastructure project for indigenous and low-income Americans.
The RIN has taken the lead in building a sustainable network of like-minded investors, funders, development and humanitarian professionals, as well as refugee entrepreneurs to support “refugee investments.” This week the RIN is holding workshops and catalyzing multiple capital commitments for refugee-related investments at SOCAP 18. RIN’s plans also include leveraging investment to incentivize favorable economic development policies such as refugee work and enterprise permits, property and land ownership, and freedom of movement.
The RIN will officially launch in early 2019 and invites investors, family offices, asset managers, faith-based institutions, and grantmakers to join this movement with us.