Sawa Nakagawa is the Founder & Partner of Three Arrows Impact Partner, a specialized advisory firm focused on impact investing and social innovation based in Johannesburg and Nairobi. She has over 20 years of professional experience across impact investing, strategy, general management, and investment banking. Originally from Japan, she has worked in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East and the U.S.
Previously Sawa served as inaugural Chief Executive Officer of E2 Investments (Pty) Ltd, an impact investment company with a mission to create jobs and attack poverty in South Africa. E2 is an empowerment partner to Allan Gray (Pty) Ltd, South Africa’s largest privately held investment management company.
Prior to E2, Sawa worked for Barclay Africa’s Equity Investments and Special Projects team where she led complex organic and inorganic projects. Before moving to South Africa, she worked at the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group) in Washington D.C. where she was responsible for investing in private hospitals, clinics, schools and universities, as well as creating blended finance mechanisms in emerging markets in a financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable manner. Sawa started her finance career at UBS Investment Bank.
Sawa has extensive experience as a board/committee member and adviser. Currently she serves as non-executive director of Spartan SME Finance, a non-banking financial institution that lends exclusively to SMEs and entrepreneurs in South Africa. She is a member of the Board Investment Committee of the National Empowerment Fund, the Investment Rules Committee of Endeavor South Africa’s Harvest Fund II, and member of the Investment Advisory Council at the Equality Fund. She chairs the Demand Side Working Group of Impact Investing South Africa.
Sawa holds an MBA from Columbia Business School (Finance & Social Enterprise) and a Masters in International Affairs (Economic & Political Development) from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. She is a CFA Charter holder and holds a CFA Certificate in ESG Investing. She is a GRI Certified Sustainability Professional and has completed the Business Sustainability Management course at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainability Leadership. Sawa is a Scott M. Johnson Fellow of the US-Japan Leadership Program.