A new investment initiative, announced by President Barack Obama during his New Delhi visit early this year, that makes it easier for the Indian diaspora to invest in small and medium businesses in India has been launched here.
The Indian Investment Initiative (III) was launched yesterday in partnership with US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Calvert Foundation.
The initiative had gained momentum in recent weeks, particularly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's last month trip to Silicon Valley.
"The Calvert Foundation, together with USAID and the State Department, just launched an initiative that will make it easier for the Indian American diaspora to invest in small and medium-sized businesses back home," US Secretary of State John Kerry said in his address to the 2015 Global Diaspora Week Launch Event at the State Department.
"The III offers a parallel tool for Indian Americans to help achieve these goals," said Nish Acharya, director of IDII.
It is a leading example of the new generation of opportunities that can leverage the closer relations between the US and India, he said.
III provides the first retail impact investment opportunity available to Indian-Americans to finance businesses with a social purpose in India.
Its first commitment is an investment in IntelleGrow, one of India's leading lenders to small and medium enterprises focused on the base of the pyramid (base of the pyramid is defined as the population living on less than USD 2.50 per day).
The III portfolio will focus on investing in key areas of development including education, health, sustainable livelihoods and more key areas that Obama and Modi agreed to continue working towards when they signed the UN Sustainable Development Goals last week.
The growing relationship between Modi and Obama is leading to more opportunities for Indian-Americans to engage in India, Acharya said.
Modi's recent trip to the US to address the UN General Assembly and visit Silicon Valley energised the Indian American community, Acharya said, adding that the Prime Minister has made a concerted, strategic effort to engage the global Indian diaspora in an unprecedented way.
According to an earlier USAID press release, US-based retail investors will be able to support this initiative by purchasing Community Investment Notes offered by Calvert Foundation.
USAID will provide a Development Credit Guarantee to support Indian financial institutions lending to social enterprises, enabling them to raise critical investments from both Indian and US investors.