Investing for impact. An exploration of impact investments in rural Ghana

Campisano, Claudia (2023) Investing for impact. An exploration of impact investments in rural Ghana, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Beni culturali e ambientali, 35 Ciclo.
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This thesis offers an exploration of impact and social investments for agricultural development projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. It does so through the case of SustAgric-Africa (SAA), a social enterprise that aims to lift smallholder farmers out of poverty through the promotion of sustainable farming and operates with capital provided by a variety of investors who are committed to pairing financial returns with social and environmental outcomes. The thesis sets off to answer the following research questions: What is the moral dimension that emerges in finance with the establishment of environmental and social criteria? What kind of arrangements do social and impact investments give origin to? Is it possible to talk about a ‘spirit of the gift’ in such arrangements? What happens when abstract and globalizing ideas around ‘impact’ hit the ground? Drawing from the STS and Actor-Network Theory, I look at the formation engendered by social and impact investments in terms of a socio-technical arrangement, and look at the movements of “objects” between the main actors in terms of circuits. In these processes ideas about ‘value’ and ‘values’ articulate in complex ways in the interplay of gift, debt and credit in the relationships among the three main categories of involved actors: investors, SAA, and the farmers. In the case of SAA, I contend that the ways abstract and globalising ideas about ‘impact’ hit the ground produce uncertain results and contribute to the reproduction of inequalities and unequal wealth distribution and accumulation, deepening ongoing processes of financialization. However, my ethnography also reveals how actors depicted as beneficiaries of impact and social policies and resources, far from being passive recipients of policies and resources, actually question and appropriate them, potentially unsettling the whole arrangement and the moral and ethical claims underpinning it.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Campisano, Claudia
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Impact Investing, Rural development, Ghana, Gift Theory, Sustainable development, Poverty reduction, Anthropology of Finance, Theory of value
Data di discussione
30 Giugno 2023

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