Expanding our capacity

One of the most important lessons that we have learned over the past two years in building Ceniarth is the value of focus and expertise.

While we began with a broad, opportunistic lens exploring a variety of underserved markets and social challenges, we quickly realized that if we sought to have real, sustainable impacts, we needed to build deep domain expertise in the complex, frontier market value chains in which we planned to intervene. We had observed too many generic impact investment firms and family offices that were focused primarily on executing deals to complete an investment portfolio allocation, as opposed to the more intensive work of evaluating how to do the right transactions to catalyze the growth of particular market ecosystems.

We are committed to this more rigorous path of impact. In that pursuit, we have been acting to add talented, experienced professionals that bring domain expertise to our current program areas. Harry Davies joined us earlier this year and is spearheading our Agriculture initiatives. With a masters degree in Development Economics, Harry had spent two years in Malawi working on private sector development issues pertaining to rural and agricultural finance. In addition, he previously work for Adam Smith International where he supported DFID, USAID, and World Bank funded projects in Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nepal. Harry is now actively building our pipeline of agriculture opportunities with a primary emphasis on asset finance transactions.

We are also very proud to announce that, as of this month, Mary Roach has joined our team to lead our work in Energy Access. Mary is well known to many in the Energy Access community through her previous work at the GSMA where she was a Senior Programme Manager for the Mobile for Development Utilities (M4D Utilities) Programme. Mary was responsible for the group’s Innovation Fund that provided critical grant support to organizations across developing Africa and Asia that leveraged mobile technology to improve access to energy, water and sanitation.

Prior to joining the GSMA in 2011, Mary spent two years working on rural energy solutions in Ghana and Kenya, including the first pilot of M-KOPA’s pay-as-you-go solution. Mary’s interest in the role that energy can play in development emerged from the combined experiences of her 5 years working with GE Power Generation in project and operations management and decade of involvement with Engineers without Borders Canada at home and abroad.

Mary will have a running start as we are deeply immersed in a number of ongoing transactions and partnerships in the Energy Access market. We expect to have a number of exciting announcements in the coming weeks and months.