New Delhi,6th October 2023 AVPN, Asia’s largest network of social investors and The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC) have developed a knowledge paper titled ‘Financing the Care Economy in the Global South: Investment Opportunities and Pathways’. International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a leading innovation and research centre, has also supported the creation of the paper, which outlines the opportunities and barriers in channelling capital into the care economy.
The care economy requires urgent attention from all stakeholders. As per a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Report, Asia-Pacific countries stand to lose $250 billion in GDP by 2035. This is due to demographic trends that showcase an ageing population, by virtue of which more people will be engaged in unpaid care work. Without additional assistance to enhance their well-being and capacity to look after their dependents, the labour market in Asia-Pacific could see increased numbers of caregivers leaving the workforce. In this context, the World Bank has estimated that India could grow up to 1% faster with more women in the labour force. However, women and girls spend two to ten times more time on unpaid care work than men. Globally, they spend an average of 4.5 hours a day on domestic chores and care activities, making them disproportionately burdened in the care crisis. To empower women economically and boost the GDP by securing the labour market, Asia requires an annual investment of US$5.4 trillion by 2035 as per the International Labour Organisation’s estimates. Collaborative action by policymakers, private sector players, and investors will be crucial in enabling this.
The AVPN knowledge paper provides insights for investors and policymakers in Asia to address the impending care crisis and highlights the need for innovative care delivery models. AVPN advocates collaborative efforts to invest in India’s care economy to drive sustainable development. The paper highlights three pathways for investors to engage in the care economy. These include investing in tech-enabled care businesses, focusing on accessibility and affordability for marginalised communities; supporting carer-friendly enterprises and integrating a care lens into existing investments to create impact, particularly for women and girls.
“Care economy presents vast and complex opportunities to create profound social and economic impact. Empowering women economically will ensure a thriving and sustainable economy. To achieve this, we must embrace innovative delivery models, including market-driven and blended solutions that bring together the public and private sectors,” said Patricia Mathias, Director, Gender Platform, AVPN. “Investors are increasingly recognizing the potential, but the challenge lies in identifying and evaluating opportunities due to limited information and understanding about the sector and its business models. Our paper addresses this information gap, providing valuable insights and recommendations to mobilise catalytic funds required to address the impending care crisis and promote gender equality in Asia and will also be significant for investors in India.”
Recommendations from this paper were also discussed during G20 EMPOWER meetings. The discussions highlighted the potential of the care economy, emphasising that investing in its equitable growth could have a positive ripple effect and bolster overall impact.