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Africa Leapfrogging Over Venture Capital: Why Alternative Investment Models Win In Frontier Markets

Melissa Rowley May 27, 2021

There has never been more opportune time to invest in emerging markets. In fact, according to a 2017 World Bank study, there’s a $5.2T financing gap in developing countries, of which $3.9T is in the global south. Some venture capital is going into SMEs in these regions, but this model doesn’t align with the needs of most of the businesses in locations such as Africa–the youngest and fastest growing continent in the world.

While venture capital works in Silicon Valley and major tech hubs and impact investing serves a greater good, there are now alternative investing models for both that not only generate high returns, but also push culture forward, promote sustainability, and drive economic well-being. This is due in part to the last two decades of rapid digitization in developing economies and the plummeting cost of networked devices.

This discussion will highlight the investing opportunity in Africa and other frontier markets, the value of supporting SMEs in these regions, and first-person accounts of how digitization and new investing instruments are empowering local entrepreneurs in emerging markets, as well as facilitating measurable social impact. This presentation can be a panel or TEDx style talk led by Untapped Global, CEO and founder, Jim Chu.



Meta Themes

  • Impact Investing

  • Social Entrepreneurship

  • Sustainable Development


investing in emerging markets, supporting SMEs, alternative investing models, democratizing investing

Purpose and Desired Outcome

The purpose and desired outcome is to inspire investors and philanthropists to support SMEs in frontier markets through new financial models that are democratizing investing.


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Corporate & SME

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)

  • Asset Managers


  • NameJim Chu
  • TitleCEO & Founder
  • OrganizationUntapped
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameGeetha Tharmaratnam
  • TitleCEO & Founding Partner
  • OrganizationAequalitas Capital Partners London Area, United Kingdom Contact info Aequalitas Capital Partners
  • StatusInvited
  • NameAlison Collier
  • TitleManaging Director
  • OrganizationEndeavor South Africa
  • StatusInvited
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