The top 5 list you’ve all been waiting for. We ran the numbers and here are the top blended finance reports, case studies, blogs, and more from Convergence that you engaged with the most in 2021.
Top Report: The State of Blended Finance 2021
In addition to the usual insights on blended finance trends from the last year, the 2021 report also focused on scaling the blended finance market, outlining challenges and putting forth concrete recommendations for how we can achieve scale together – with special op-eds from expert voices, including BlackRock, IFC, the African Trade and Development Group, Publish What You Fund, and much more.
The report found that since 2015 annual blended finance capital flows have averaged approximately $9 billion. However, like the rest of the global financial system, the blended finance market was impacted by the unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, the year covered by the current report, blended finance flows were significantly lower at $4.5 billion. In the past decade or so, aggregate blended finance flows have totaled just over $160 billion.
Top op-ed: Five critiques of blended finance – and five responses from Convergence
As blended finance becomes more prosaic and widespread, it also attracts more skeptics. To provide a bit of clarity on the role of blended finance in sustainable development, we put together some responses to common critiques of blended finance that we've come across, including that blended finance doesn’t support low-income countries, lacks transparency and accountability, and has no proof of effectiveness or impact.
Top blog: Gender Equality is Coming to the Fore in Blended Finance
Back in 2020 Convergence developed a gender strategy to weave gender equality into the fabric of how the firm works and supports capital providers and deal sponsors. The groundwork we did internally enabled us to start having deeper conversations with blended finance actors around how they apply a gender lens to their investment mandate and deal structuring activities. In this blog we identified several trends and insights from these conversations, and concluded that gender equality has evolved from a ‘nice-to-have’ social impact target to a goal in and of itself. For a growing number of organizations, applying a gender lens is no longer the exclusive responsibility of the impact team, instead it is a shared consideration across teams responsible for financial structuring, business development, and fundraising.
Top Case Study: Climate Investor One
Climate Investor One (CIO) is an $850 million blended vehicle designed to accelerate the development of renewable energy infrastructure projects in emerging markets. Comprised of three inter-linked investment funds (the Development Fund, the Construction Equity Fund, and the Refinancing Fund), CIO provides fit-for-purpose financing across the project finance lifecycle. The Fund aims to support ~30 projects over its 15-year investment term and will target a variety of renewable energy technologies.
Top News: Launch of the Gender-Responsive Climate Finance Window
The Government of Canada and Convergence launched the CAD 5 million (approximately USD 4 million) Gender-Responsive Climate Finance Design Funding Window, which will award early-stage grant funding for the design and launch of innovative blended finance solutions at the nexus of climate change and gender equality in emerging markets worldwide. The Window is currently open and accepting applications, the first submission deadline is on January 28, 2022.