Zurich/London/New York, 20 July 2023 – British International Investment (BII), the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor, and the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) have agreed to be anchor investors for a pioneering USD 100m blended finance initiative focused on delivering Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-aligned outcomes, investing alongside private investors including Legatum, family offices such as the Tsao Family Office and other high net worth individuals.
The SDG Outcomes initiative was developed by UBS Optimus Foundation and Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, a specialist not-for-profit.
It works with governments, corporates and other outcomes funders to design, support and deliver projects for those who need it most, especially in Africa and Asia including India, and in other low- and middle-income countries around the world. SDG Outcomes uses an innovative blended finance structure, whereby UBS Optimus, funded by donations from over 30 UBS clients, is providing 20% first-loss capital to unlock additional impact-driven capital. Any returns for the philanthropic funding will be recycled into future projects.
“The SDG Outcomes initiative is one of the first of its kind to provide the scale so desperately needed to provide real impact,” says Maya Ziswiler, CEO of the UBS Optimus Foundation. “By creating an investible solution, we can help our clients and partners to mobilize all forms of capital – from philanthropic, through to public and private investors motivated by both financial and non-financial returns on their investments. We are excited to be bringing this landmark initiative to market.”
Agnes Dasewicz, Chief Operating Officer of DFC, said: “DFC is proud to work with UBS Optimus Foundation and Bridges Outcomes Partnerships to invest in this pioneering blended finance initiative. The SDG Outcomes Initiative’s approach aligns with DFC priorities to catalyze private sector investment in critical areas, such as employment, education, and the environment in communities across Africa and Asia.”
“Tsao Family Office is delighted to participate in SDG Outcomes. We feel it is highly impactful and will benefit vulnerable as well as underserved communities. We chose to contribute to both the philanthropic and investment tranches as a means by which to fully participate in the blended finance structure. We are pleased to be joining a range of likeminded people who are coming together to use their capital for impact outcomes,” said Bryan Goh, CEO, Tsao Family Office.
Philip Vassiliou, Partner & Chief Investment Officer of Legatum, added: “At the heart of everything Legatum does is our core belief that all human beings are capable of thriving, given the right resources and environment. Whether as a value investor in global capital markets or through our philanthropic investments in areas like health, education, and combatting human trafficking, Legatum always aims to create an outsized impact with our capital. We are excited to be an early part of SDG Outcomes and for the role outcomes partnerships can play in helping to scale development funding and private investment in underserved communities.”
Managed by Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, SDG Outcomes is targeting the achievement of specific outcomes aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in areas like health, education, economic empowerment, and the environment.
“We’re hugely excited by the potential of SDG Outcomes to improve lives at scale and, over time, to transform the way in which development projects are designed and delivered,” said Mila Lukic, CEO of Bridges Outcomes Partnerships. “Over the last decade, we’ve seen first-hand how outcomes partnerships can catalyze better collaboration between stakeholders and greater flexibility of delivery – while creating clear accountability for achieving better outcomes for people and the planet. Around 600 million young people globally lack numeracy and literacy skills; millions more are suffering from the effects of plastics pollution. We are pleased that SDG Outcomes’ first projects are helping to address these challenges through innovative, outcomes-based partnerships.”
First investments targeted at helping people and planet in West Africa
In Sierra Leone, SDG Outcomes is supporting the government to improve numeracy and literacy outcomes at 195 primary schools, working with over 42,000 children, while also helping to develop the schools through teacher training and curriculum improvement.
In Ghana, the initiative is supporting a similar-government-backed outcomes partnership, which is aiming to assist over 40,000 children already in education and increase access to schooling for a further 18,000 children outside the education system.
In Nigeria, the SDG Outcomes initiative is supporting the growth of Wecyclers, a social enterprise that collects, re-sells and recycles plastic waste via a franchise model. The project has clear employment and environmental outcomes-targets. Wecyclers is aiming to collect over 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste during the next five years, while creating over 700 jobs in franchises and improving the incomes of thousands of people across Nigeria.
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