The Global Innovation Fund (GIF) is a non-profit, impact-first investment fund headquartered in London that primarily works with mission-aligned development agencies (USAID, SIDA, Global Affairs Canada, UKAID). Through grants, loans and equity investments, they back innovations with the potential for social impact at a large scale, whether these are new technologies, business models, policy practices or behavioural insights. I've been told that so far their investments have been roughly 60% grants and 40% 'risk capital' (i.e., loans and equity).
Recently, they made a bold but little publicized projection in their 2022 Impact Report (page 18): "We project every dollar that GIF has invested to date will be three times as impactful as if that dollar had been spent on long-lasting, insecticide-treated bednets... This is three times higher than the impact per dollar of Givewell’s top-rated charities, including distribution of anti-malarial insecticide-treated bednets. By Givewell’s estimation, their top charities are 10 times as cost-effective as cash transfers." The report says they have invested $112m since 2015.
This is a short post to highlight GIF's projection to the EA community and to invite comments and reactions.
Here are a few initial points:
- It's exciting to see an organization with relatively traditional funders comparing its impact to GiveWell's top charities (as well as cash transfers).
- I would want to see more information on how they did their calculations before taking a view on their projection.
- In any case, based on my conversations with GIF, and what I've understood about their methodology, I think their projection should be taken seriously. I can see many ways it could be either an overestimate or an underestimate.