WDF at GIIN Impact Forum: Accelerating investments in diabetes

The Global Impact Investing Network held its annual Forum in Copenhagen, delving into sustainable ways to scale impact investing in social issues. WDF was thrilled to join and introduce the Diabetes Investment Accelerator.

17 October 2023 Andreea Enea

The WDF team at the GIIN Impact Forum: Kirza Kristensen, Ayan Musa Ahmed, and Mette Skar, joined by Peter Haahr, member of the WDF Board of Directors

In recent years, WDF has been exploring innovative financing models to increase attention and funding for diabetes and related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This journey showcased a growing appetite for blended finance and new models, including a mix of public, private and philanthropic funding.  

On 4-5 October, the 1,500+ participants at the 2023 Impact Forum in Copenhagen confirmed the investors’ growing interest in sustainable opportunities. The annual event is hosted by The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN), which serves as a central hub for impact investors and knowledge partners to cultivate synergies in the field.  

This year, the Forum sessions revolved around how to effectively scale impact investment in social issues like health, education, livelihoods, financial inclusion and reducing the effects of climate change. You can watch the highlights in this short video

As a GIIN member, WDF participated for the first time in the Forum and the team was impressed by the vibrant energy and insights of the community. Here are a few of our takeaways:  

  • Impact investing is critical in addressing global crises and channelling funding to social and planetary needs, focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals.  
  • The impact market is estimated to exceed $1 trillion. Yet, there is still a significant funding gap for LMICs, which receive less than 8% of the required $4 trillion.   
  • The sessions stressed the importance of global capital for local impact, which is where WDF has an opportunity to act as a broker through our extensive partner network in LMICs.   
  • Although impact investing has increased rapidly since the 2010s, it is still evolving in terms of concepts, tools, and approaches. This presents a significant opportunity for philanthropic organisations like WDF to help shape the ecosystem.


The Forum included an insightful GIIN plenary session about new opportunities in the global south, where investors can utilise local resources and expertise to make a meaningful impact at scale.

Accelerating investments in diabetes  

In line with our ongoing efforts to combat diabetes and related NCDs in LMICs, we are pleased to introduce the Diabetes Investment Accelerator (DIA). 

DIA is an initiative that WDF has developed for the past two years to streamline investments in outcome-based solutions like social impact bonds.  

The initial phase is focused on gaining insights and validating concepts by creating knowledge products, developing and implementing specific investment cases, and building a network of partners to facilitate innovative financing solutions – such as health authorities, service providers, funders, and investors. 

Why the DIA is critical 

The urgency of investing in diabetes and related NCDs in LMICs is clear: 25,000 new type 2 diabetes diagnoses daily burden already strained healthcare systems, leading to more inequality and poverty.  

The world needs additional funds to tackle these diseases which are responsible for 74% of all deaths worldwide. Furthermore, the World Health Organisation found that investing in NCD prevention and care can generate a 7x return through reduced health costs and improved productivity. 

That is why increased investment in prevention and access to care is urgently needed.   

'We believe that outcome-based models such as social impact bonds carry great potential for investors, corporates and philanthropies’ as Kirza Kristensen, Head of Strategy and Business Development at WDF, highlights.  

‘To fulfil our mission, we aim to form new partnerships and transform financing for diabetes and NCDs into actual investment cases”, she adds.  

As an active member of the GIIN, WDF is exploring avenues to secure non-traditional development capital. The conference offered the chance to listen and learn from other foundations that have embarked on the same journey. 

For potential collaborations on innovative financing initiatives, you can contact: 

Kirza Kristensen, Head of Strategy and Business Development at WDF  

Ayan Musa Ahmed, Associate Project Manager, Strategy and Business Development, zxah@worlddiabetesfoundation.org  


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