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21 Dec 21

Our top 5 of 2021

Our top 5 of 2021

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.

Read the report and visit the microsite.

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.

See how we responded by reading the op-ed.

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.

Read the blog.

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.

Read the case study for an in-depth look into CIO's design, fundraising, structure, governance, operations, and much more.

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.

Learn more about the Window and Convergence’s Design Funding Program

About the Author
Sijia Yi

As the Head of Communications, Sijia leads communications strategy and implementation at Convergence. Sijia brings with her over ten years of communications expertise in media relations, digital media management, and strategy development. Prior to joining Convergence, Sijia was a Communications Officer at the United Nations University (UNU) in Bonn, Germany. At UNU she explored new ways to tell stories about climate change. She also oversaw international media relations and placed UNU in high impact outlets around the world, including the New York Times, BBC, and Reuters. Sijia has also served in a communications capacity at Fairtrade International and McGill University. Sijia holds a B.A. in Psychology from McGill University and an M.A. in Digital Media and Business Communication from Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

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