Fund of the year - private debt: WaterEquity's Global Access Fund

Specialist asset manager WaterEquity seeks to provide investors with competitive returns by focusing on solving one of the most urgent issues of our time: the global water and sanitation crisis.

Between April 2021 and September 2022, WaterEquity launched, closed, and deployed a $153 million impact investment fund called the Global Access Fund.

IMPACT awards judges said the fund was "a great example of the use of private investment and the global capital market to close the financing gap that has contributed to the global water and sanitation crisis".

Whilst the fund primarily targets financial institutions in emerging markets - to scale affordable financing for household water and sanitation solutions - it also surveys the end-users using the services to ensure that the outcomes are being delivered effectively on the ground.

WaterEquity reported the following impact made in the eligibility period for the award:

  • Since its inception in April 2021, the Global Access Fund has reached more than 942,000 people with safe water or sanitation.
  • The Global Access Fund has expanded WaterEquity's geographic market from three investment countries (India, Indonesia, and Cambodia) to a global market encompassing 16 countries of impact across Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
  • 97% of individuals directly supported by the fund's investments are women and 66% earn below a living income.
  • Since the fund's inception, nearly 175,000 microloans have been deployed to low-income consumers to serve their water and sanitation needs, equating to more than $75 million in water and sanitation financing.

"WaterEquity's Global Access Fund has been our most ambitious capital raise yet," says Paul O'Connell, president at WaterEquity. "With access to more dedicated capital, we are able to reach more people living in poverty with access to safe water and sanitation solutions.

"It has been deeply gratifying to see the enthusiasm and commitment of participants in this fund, ultimately leading to an oversubscribed final close. It illustrates that our ability to deliver true impact offers a compelling opportunity to investors.

"We are excited to use this momentum and further scale up WaterEquity's efforts to reach millions more underserved families around the world."