A coalition of private and public sector launches SDG500, a groundbreaking USD$500 million investment platform to accelerate progress towards the SDGs
Davos, Switzerland, 22 January 2020 – A coalition of private and public sector organisations, including United Nations entities, non-governmental organisations and a private equity firm today announces the launch of SDG500 – a new investment platform to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This USD$500 million investment platform is the first-of-its-kind dedicated to helping achieve the SDGs. SDG500 will offer exposure to six different underlying funds. Each of these funds is or will be managed by impact asset manager Bamboo Capital Partners.
The funds will use debt and equity to invest at Seed, Series A and Series B stages in hundreds of businesses in emerging and frontier markets. SDG500 aims to address the ‘missing middle’ financing gap that affects entrepreneurs in these markets, where growth is constrained by a lack of access to follow-on financing.
The funds will target businesses in the agriculture, finance, energy, education and healthcare sectors across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean and Pacific regions. There will also be a gender-lens focus and some of the funds will specifically invest in businesses that empower and provide jobs for women.
The funds composing the SDG500 platform each include a catalytic first loss layer designed to encourage and protect senior tranches of funding. Initial sponsors of the catalytic layers of the funds of SDG500 include the European Union, the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, the Governments of Luxembourg, Togo and Tunisia, CARE and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.
The International Trade Centre has joined forces with CARE to establish the CARE-SheTrades Fund, one of the six Funds comprising the SDG500 Partnership, which will provide financing to businesses promoting gender equality through actions in the workplace, supply chain, women’s entrepreneurship and gender-responsive products. With a target size of $75 million, a senior tranche of $60 million and $15 million as first loss, the CARE-SheTrades Fund will generate an expected rate of return of 7.5% to harness the power of the private sector in pursuit of SDG 5 on gender equality.
The underlying six funds are; the ABC Fund, an impact investment vehicle targeting smallholder farmers and small and medium agribusinesses in developing countries; BUILD, a fixed-income fund aimed at early-stage enterprises in the Least Developed Countries; the CARE SheTrades Fund, a gender lens fund which will use debt and equity to invest in businesses in Asia; BLOC SmartAfrica and BLOC Latin America, venture capital funds targeting technology enterprises in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean respectively; and HEAL, a venture capital fund investing in health tech businesses in emerging and frontier markets.
“The launch of SDG500 is a unique milestone for the impact investing industry. We have never seen a coalition from the private and public sector come together to achieve the SDGs on this scale before. The missing middle financing gap is real, and it is suffocating early-stage enterprises which have the potential to transform some of the world’s poorest and most underdeveloped regions. We believe that by working together to finance and scale these businesses, we can achieve the SDGs and take another step closer to a better, more sustainable future for all,” said Jean-Philippe de Schrevel, Founder and Managing Partner, Bamboo Capital Partners.
The financing gap to achieve the SDGs in developing countries is estimated to be US$2.5 trillion per year. To achieve the SDGs by 2030, more innovative and sustainable financing solutions are required. The launch of the initiative will be announced at the “SDG500 Roundtable” which takes place today in Davos, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
Commenting on this ground-breaking initiative, Dorothy Tembo, ITC’s acting Executive Director, said: “The SDG500 platform will immediately target businesses in the agriculture, finance, energy, education, and healthcare sectors in Africa, Asia and Latin America – turbo-boosting progress towards the SDGs. Importantly, the fund has a gender focus and will invest in businesses that empower and provide jobs for women – including through the participation of ITC’s innovative SheTrades initiative, which aims to connect three million women entrepreneurs to market by 2021. We welcome the launch of this groundbreaking endeavour.”
About ITC: The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For more information, visit www.intracen.org.
 The European Union, Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, The African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States and the Government of Luxembourg have committed funding to the first loss layer of the ABC Fund, which has been initiated by IFAD in partnership with them. The Governments of Togo and Tunisia have committed to the first loss of the BLOC SmartAfrica Fund. CARE has committed to the first loss of the Care-SheTrades Fund. Those three funds are part of the SDG500 platform.
Note from the Editor: This news bodes well for the Walk4Africa initiative, which aims to unite African nations in attaining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) objectives by 2030 through:
- Researching, measuring, enhancing, and educating on the 17 SDGs;
- Identifying new sustainable tourism product and service opportunities in collaboration with local communities, tourism experts, and governments, to create much-needed jobs in rural areas;
- Researching the impact of plastic pollution on marine environments along Africa’s coastlines and river estuaries;
- Creating global awareness of Africa’s abundant natural beauty, pristine beaches, and cultural heritage to grow inbound tourism numbers (particularly ecotourists) in Africa.