Social finance is an innovative idea pioneered in the UK, where social enterprises contribute a staggering £55 billion to the UK economy annually. Social finance uses private capital to have a social impact, generating social as well as financial returns. In Big Society Capital, Britain now has the world’s first wholesale social investment bank, and the first global Social Stock Exchange was launched in the UK in June.
And as the British Ambassador to Morocco Clive Alderton highlighted when he gave the keynote address to a Social Finance conference in Casablanca on 10 December, at a time when Morocco and the UK are celebrating 800 years of diplomatic ties, it is no surprise to see the two countries joining forces at the cutting edge of Social Finance innovation.
“These new sources of finance and expertise complement traditional development cooperation, and are creating opportunities for new partnerships that makes the best use of what each has to offer”, said the Ambassador, welcoming the Moroccan contribution to innovation in this field and highlighting the potential for the imaginative use of social investment and finance in Morocco. “The scope for greater partnership between the UK and Morocco in social finance really is immense.”
The Conseil su Developpement et de la Solidarite (CDS) conference on Social Finance, or “Finance Solidaire”, highlighted the potential of social finance as a powerful tool to finance social impact projects, and was opened by Mohamed Benamour, President of the CDS, and Karim Hajji, CEO of the Casablanca Stock Exchange. The great British innovator and social pioneer Sir Ronald Cohen chairs the G8 working group tasked with developing social finance globally, and joined the conference via a specially recorded video message.
The event gathered together key figures from the financial services sector, Not for Profits involved in education and other social impact fields in Morocco, and organisations including the World Bank and the African Development Bank. The organisation Social Finance UK took part in panel discussions exploring international experience in this area, outlining the development of Social Impact Bonds and other forms of social impact investment in the UK.