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 African Business Network 89
But, it was not just the prospect of generating strong  nancial returns which convinced Parkes to enter the agricultural sector, he was captured by its potential to improve wealth and living conditions for a large section of low-income West Africans.
Thus, from a business perspective Injaro was formed to solve the issue of attracting capital for SMEs in the region, but from a social standpoint it was created to tackle some of Africa’s most pressing issues, such as poverty.
“When we were conceiving Injaro, we weren’t aware of the term ‘impact of investing’ but intuitively understood the bene ts that agricultural sector development could
bring to many West Africans. We therefore thought including agriculture in a pro table investment portfolio was the right approach.
“It was the least we could do, as Africans
who had experienced the good fortune of international education and work experience, to satisfy our innate desire to give back to our community.
“This has led us to have a more balanced view to impact. We call ourselves a  nance- rst impact investor because every investment we make has to have an impact but also has to be  nancially sustainable.”
Consequently, Injaro looks to provide equity to a wide-range of SMEs encompassing the entire agricultural value chain in several countries across West Africa. Aside from the usual requirements of any potential investee
company, such as good growth prospects,
an ability to generate pro ts and competent management teams, Injaro also looks for that crucial social impact.
“In terms of social impact, we tend to look
for a company whose operations intrinsically depend on the classes that we are targeting, such as small holder farmers and low-income persons.”
Portfolio companies
Injaro’s portfolio features a range of companies in several countries across West Africa, including Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali
and Niger while the group recently exited its investee  rm in Burkina Faso having helped it generate a strong  nancial return.
These  rms span the entire agricultural value chain in the region, incorporating various plant seed businesses, input suppliers and food processing  rms to name a few. Injaro places a high level of importance on being involved in the entire value chain across the region.
“The challenges that we face in West Africa are such that we have to take a holistic
look at the entire value chain and try to  gure out where the biggest challenges and ine ciencies are,” explains Parkes.
“Then what we try to do is  x these challenges through investing in companies who are working on  xing these ine ciencies.

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