Digital Invest is a blended finance program that seeks to mobilize private capital for digital connectivity infrastructure and digital financial services that strengthen open, interoperable, reliable, inclusive, and secure digital ecosystems in emerging markets. Digital Invest supports global investment fund managers, project developers, and other private sector partners seeking to accelerate sustainable market growth for internet service providers (ISPs) and financial technology companies (fintechs) that reduce the digital divide by serving traditionally excluded communities in developing markets. To learn more about partnership opportunities with USAID under the Digital Invest program, please refer to the current call for concepts, open until April 14, 2023.
Digital Invest was announced by President Biden in June 2022 as a flagship program under the G7-led Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment. The program supports a competitive, diverse ecosystem of digital connectivity and financial service providers, promoting the growth of resilient, secure digital ecosystems in developing countries.
New partnerships announced in 2023 are supporting the following:
- CSquared, an Africa-based technology company focused on broadband enabling infrastructure, is establishing a 350-kilometer open-access fiber backbone network in Liberia to provide transformative network capacity to ISPs and mobile network operators. As a result, this will bring quality internet access to approximately one million people in Liberia.
- Microsoft Airband is supporting the development and launch of a global incentive fund, managed by Resonance, for ISPs providing digital access to community institutions such as health clinics, schools, and local government facilities.
- Modus Capital is launching a venture-builder program for early-stage financial technology companies that improve financial well-being across underserved populations in Egypt, building off the infrastructure and best practices of Modus’ venture platform, comprising venture capital funds, venture builders, and a corporate innovation arm.
- SIMA Funds, an impact investment firm, is launching a new crowdfunding platform, Sow Good Investments, that will catalyze U.S. retail investments into fintech-enabled microfinance institutions and pay-as-you-go (PAYGo) solar financing and distribution companies operating across sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.
Partnerships announced in 2022 are supporting the following:
- Connectivity Capital is launching a sector-specific impact fund focused on expanding internet access in developing countries, supporting ISPs in building open and secure digital infrastructure to increase access to affordable broadband.
- E3 Capital (formerly Energy Access Ventures) seeks to improve access to digitally-enabled services across sub-Saharan Africa, with a portion of their fund dedicated to expanding connectivity to drive internet access and use.
- Integra Partners seeks to empower tech entrepreneurs to drive access to affordable and responsible financial and digital health services across South and Southeast Asia, with the vision that every person and business in the region should be able to manage and improve their financial and physical health digitally and at a reasonable cost.
- Lendable offers debt financing for financial technology companies (fintechs) operating in emerging and frontier markets, with a focus on increasing access to credit for small-and-medium-sized enterprises and supporting the digital business ecosystem.
- Accion Venture Lab, the investment arm of Accion International, provides early-stage capital and extensive support to innovative, scalable fintech startups that improve the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services for the underserved.
Digital Invest is led by USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub as part of the U.S. Government’s Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP) with funding from the State Department’s Bureau of Cyberspace and Digital Policy, USAID’s Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Hub, USAID’s Innovation, Technology, and Research Hub, and USAID Liberia.