“Harvard gives you powerful tools for getting things done in the world,” observes Eric-Vincent Guichard (MBA 1990). “Over time, you more fully appreciate the responsibility that goes with that education.”
Guichard, who grew up in rural Guinea, is founder and CEO of Homestrings, an online investment platform that facilitates diaspora and impact investing in Africa. Formerly a portfolio manager with the World Bank, where he helped African and other emerging nations set up foreign exchange and asset management activities, Guichard founded Gravitas Capital Advisors in 1996 to work directly with global and sovereign institutional investors
Homestrings, launched in 2011, draws on lessons learned in those roles, plus Guichard’s own awareness that “those of us who have found success far from family and friends are looking for opportunities to support development back home.” Recent World Bank estimates indicate that global diaspora remittances amount to $550 billion a year.
Homestrings investors choose from among funds or projects in Africa selected because they meet economic, social, and good governance objectives. Typical investment opportunities include bridges, power plants, shopping malls, schools, agricultural equipment, and airports.
Noting that Homestrings will expand soon to Asia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and China, with plans for Latin America and the Caribbean on the horizon, Guichard says, “We look for offerings that combine social impact and attractive returns.”
(Published September 2015)
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