Development investments: a response to global challenges

From USD 3 million to USD 3 billion: The miraculous multiplication of start-up financing from the public sector

Zurich, 18 January 2017 — Take USD 3 million of start-up financing from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), an asset management team with initiative and 13 years in the fertile ground of development investments and the result is: A total of USD 3.2 billion of assets – 80% of which is from the private sector – invested through 14 investment vehicles in a total of 560 companies across 96 countries. The responsAbility success story is a prime example of effective collaboration between the public and private sectors. A new publication examines this recipe for success.

Development investments are return-oriented investments in private companies with inclusive business models. They focus on sectors such as energy, agriculture and financial services and aim to generate development impacts combined with attractive returns for investors.

The sharing of roles between the public and private sectors has proved an effective approach when mobilizing assets for investment in development-related companies and opening up new markets for investment: The state assumes a pioneering role by supplying start-up capital and the private sector subsequently multiplies that capital. 

The new publication ‘Development investments: a response to global challenges‘ describes how the Swiss asset manager responsAbility Investments AG has been able to successfully build the development investments business since 2003 thanks to start-up financing from the 
Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO): The first responsAbility investment solution, which was launched in the form of a public-private partnership in 2004, is today the world’s largest investment fund in the area of micro and SME financing and is 100% privately funded. responsAbility has since developed investment solutions in the energy and agricultural sectors based on a similar model.

Ivo Germann, Head of Operations, Economic Cooperation and Development, at the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), explained: “In 2003, we saw the potential to support the creation of a new investment category that would enrich the existing range of investments and promote economic development in our target countries. SECO found an appropriate and capable partner in the form of responsAbility. We are now watching with interest as responsAbility focuses attention on the areas of agriculture and renewable energies as the next step in this process.”

Rochus Mommartz, CEO of responsAbility Investments AG, explained: “We give investors access to around 100 emerging local markets where we invest directly in companies with sustainable business models and growth potential. The new publication examines the interface between the investment market and development support over the last 15 years and shows why returns and impact go hand in hand.”

‘Development investments: a response to global challenges‘


responsAbility Investments AG 
Ulli Janett, Media Relations
+41 44 403 06 33
ulli.janett [at]

Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO)
Lorenz Jakob, Enquiries on Economic Development Cooperation
+41 58 468 60 56
lorenz.jakob [at] ( )

About SECO
SECO is the Swiss Confederation’s centre of expertise for all core economic policy issues, including economic cooperation and development. Its mandate is to enable sustainable and inclusive growth in its partner countries. “Inclusive” means that all segments of the population prosper from such growth, and “sustainable” means that it does not compromise the well-being of future generations.

SECO helps partner countries to create more and better jobs. It enables governments to set up effective institutions and deliver efficient public services. It helps them develop sustainable trade and a stronger competitive stance on international markets, and it encourages climate-smart business practices. SECO works to make partner countries more resilient. This places them in a stronger position to withstand economic and financial shocks and the impacts of climate change. And, in giving people better prospects at home, SECO also tackles one of the root causes of migration flows.

SECO engages at a bilateral and multilateral level with many different partner organisations. Here, it can tap into the specialist knowledge in economic and trade policy within SECO and the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER).

About responsAbility Investments AG
responsAbility Investments AG is one of the world’s leading asset managers in the field of development investments and offers professionally managed investment solutions to both private and institutional investors. The company supplies debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in emerging economies and developing countries. 

responsAbility currently has USD 3.2 billion of assets under management invested in over 550 companies in 96 countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich and has local offices in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris. Its shareholders include a number of reputable institutions in the Swiss financial market and its own employees. responsAbility is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.

Legal Disclaimer

This information material was produced by responsAbility Investments AG together with its partners with the greatest of care and to the best of its knowledge and belief. However, responsAbility Investments AG provides no guarantee with regard to its content and completeness and does not accept any liability for losses which might arise from making use of this information. The opinions expressed in this information material are those of responsAbility Investments AG at the time of writing and are subject to change at any time without notice. If nothing is indicated to the contrary, all figures are unaudited. This information material is provided for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell financial instruments or services and does not release the recipient from exercising his/her own judgment. It is expressly not intended for persons who, due to their nationality or place of residence, are not permitted access to such information under local law. Neither this information material nor any copy thereof may be sent, taken into or distributed in the United States or to any U. S. person. Every investment involves risk, especially with regard to fluctuations in value and return. Investments in foreign currencies involve the additional risk that the foreign currency might lose value against the investor's reference currency. It should be noted that historical returns and financial market scenarios are no guarantee of future performance.