In fitting with AfricaSIF approach to new thinking for new capital in Africa, we tried a new approach to putting the powerful voices of different perspectives along the value chain to share their thining on sustainable investment last night at the Launch Event 1 hosted by the JSE SRI Index. A big thank you to Jay Naidoo, Chair of both Development Bank of South Africa and GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition); Judge Mervyn King, Chair of the Global Reporting Initiative and King Commission; Simon Harford from Actis; African Development Bank Director, Tim Turner, Corli le Roux, Legal Counsel for the JSE; Wanjiru Kirima, chairperson of the Principal Officers’ Association; and SAVCA’s JP Fourie.

Being good sports, they helped AfricaSIF kick off our launch events @ the JSE last night. Our experiment worked (phew!): we asked each of these speakers who each could ahve shared valuable insights for the evening, to instead offer short, sharp statements of 2 minutes each on what work they're currently doing in Africa, how they see sustainable investment, and if/how AfricaSIF is a new part of helping to move sustainable investment forward as a network, knowledgebase and advocate in Africa. We had much positive feedback on the approach and how each of your comments added something new.

More than that, we thank the 7 speakers for setting the tone for our networking. AfricaSIF is all of us in the room last night, each with our own professional and personal journeys, our work as investment practitioners somewhere along the investment value chain in Africa, and as part of the answer to the question: how do we grow Africa sustainably? The speakers had kind words about the work of the 11 colleagues of the AfricaSIF Steering Committee, the 7 graduate students of the AfricaSIF Intern Pod and the many, many friends who have supported us along the way from dream to event. We look forward to taking up offers of support, collaboration and of course membership in AfricaSIF in 2010 and for our 3 year plan. AfricaSIF is a network, knowledgebase and advocate for sustainable investment in Africa, and each of these speakers make us better for their actions. We hope each met (or re-met!) some good and interesting people. We look forward to seeing them at our following launch events, and the 8/9 Dec for our first annual AfricaSIF co-hosted ESG Africa conference in partnership with leading global ESG media house Responsible Investor and other partners.

As one of the guests said, the launch was a huge success. We drew great interest and attention from a wide variety of very influential people in sustainable investing and finance in Africa. There was a great show of support from both individuals and companies seeking membership to the organisation, which was our one of our primary goals. In addition, several major organisations have expressed an interest in potential sponsorship of AfricaSIF's first 3 year plan, so we will be presenting the sponsorship options and packages in a more formalised way shortly.