Media Development Investment Fund has published its Portfolio Review 2021, where we look back on our media development and impact investing work that supported independent media in 2021. The annual report offers insights into the performance of our investment portfolio, our clients’ critical work and our various initiatives to support free media around the world.
Last year, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of MDIF’s first investment. Over a quarter of a century, we have invested in 138 independent media businesses in 45 countries of different sizes, types of activity and business models. In total, we have provided $270.1 million in financing, including $233.5 million in loans and equity investments, $36 million in technical assistance (TA) and TA grants.
MDIF invests in independent media around the world to help them build robust businesses so they can safeguard their editorial independence and respond to the challenges facing the media industry globally. In 2021 alone, we invested $34.8 million in loans and equity investments, carrying out 13 new investments, with 10 new clients joining our portfolio.
We ended the year with $147.5 million total assets under management, managed through a structure that included eight private equity, debt and hybrid funds and other investment vehicles. Two new funding initiatives were launched in the year.
At the end of 2021, MDIF’s portfolio spanned 56 independent media companies spread across 32 countries, from Kosovo to Lesotho and from Peru to Malaysia. All MDIF clients operated in countries where the media environment is not good, according to Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index.
Our investments supported the work of more than 5,798 journalists, publishers and other media workers. Average female participation stood at 47% among staff, 45.5% among management, and 42.5% among newsroom leadership.
In 2021, 78% of MDIF clients included in our annual survey reported receiving awards in that year and we counted as many as 91 honours and accolades earned. Reaching 331 million people with news and information, 82% of MDIF investees reported that they created impact through journalism and information-sharing in 2021.
MDIF also delivers non-financial value and engages actively in its investments by providing business and management support and we broaden our impact by launching or partnering in media support projects. Last year, we delivered $3.5 million in tailored technical assistance and TA grants through Media Advisory Services (MAS), our capacity building unit, and through our media support projects, including in Southern Africa, Southeast Asia and Ethiopia.