How ‘productising’ innovative finance hurts development

Published: 17 May 2023

The pursuit of better social outcomes, not new products, should drive the international development community’s approach to innovative finance. 

This article was first published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.

In recent years, the concept of innovative finance has become increasingly popular in the international development community, especially as a way to mobilize more funding to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Innovative finance is based on the premise that there is not enough money from governments and philanthropic organisations alone to address pressing global issues like poverty, climate change, and access to electricity and clean water. 

To avoid innovative finance getting written off as another development fad, a rebalancing is in order. Understanding what innovative finance can mean beyond a set of acronymised products will do more to serve the needs of the people and communities that funders intend to serve.

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