While these standards and guidelines are all important and relevant to evaluating impact investing in Africa, they also all originate in the Global North. Such geopolitical asymmetry raises the question: what does Africa want? What kinds of terms, indicators and guidelines would African impact investors, impact analysts and development evaluators recommend in order to direct and police this emerging industry? How would they be different, and how would they be similar? What matters most to Africans?
Africa will remain a leading destination for impact capital in the years ahead, so these are important and timely questions. The African Union and UNDP, along with many other actors—particularly African evaluation associations, universities, impact investing funds, impact analysts, DFIs and policy makers—should be mobilized to bring the various stakeholders together to work on the standards issue. Appropriate, made-in-Africa standards will not only help to optimize the development value of impact investments, but will also help to discipline private sector investment in the SDGs. And, by elevating the transparency and legitimacy of how impact investments actually generate positive social impact, they will pay dividends for a very long time.