IMPACT Awards 2023

Impact project/investment of the year - education: Momentum Social Infrastructure Fund

Responding to South Africa's shortage of beds for students, Momentum Investments partnered with Eris Properties to invest in affordable student housing in the country.

The Momentum Infrastructure Social Fund portfolio holds a mix of debt and equity products and targets investments in higher education student housing as well as rural and peri-urban retail shopping centres.

Motlasi MutlanyaneThe South African government has stated there is a 400,000 shortfall of beds missing from student accommodation buildings associated with public universities and colleges.

Momentum began investing in student accommodation in 2018 when it acquired Rise Student Living, a fully-furnished student accommodation, consisting of 998 beds, located near the University of Pretoria. This started the firm's interest in impact investing as "investors were ensured a future return through rental income", while it also targeted one of the country's social problems.

Construction is currently underway on two further projects that the Momentum is invested in, through the South Africa Student Accommodation Impact Investment Fund. These projects, in Johannesburg and Cape Town, have a combined capacity of more than 4,100 beds and will be ready to accommodate students for the start of the 2024 academic year, it says.

"Momentum Alternative Investments is focused on delivering sustainable and impactful solutions at scale in the higher education sector," said Motlatsi Mutlanyane, head of Momentum Alternative Investments. "By providing safe and accessible accommodation, we allow students to fulfil their potential as future leaders. While there is still a lot of work to do, we are delighted to be recognised for our commitment to improving our environmental footprint and securing a more sustainable future."

Though Momentum claims each investment has measurable impact metrics, which are measured and monitored by the portfolio team as part of the impact measurement and management framework, it is not part of any impact investments standards body.