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Press Release

Green Climate Fund backs its first green bank

Manama, Bahrain, 19 October, 2018 – Today the Green Climate Fund (GCF) announced that it will provide $55.6 million to the Development Bank of Southern Africa’s (DBSA) Climate Finance Facility (CFF), making it the first time the Fund has backed the establishment of a green bank. This ground-breaking decision is even more significant as the CFF is the first green bank in Africa and will potentially be the first green bank in a developing country.

“When launched, the CFF will be the first African-led green bank that explicitly seeks to catalyze investment, at scale, in projects and businesses that mitigate or adapt to climate change. As one of the leading development banks in Africa and a GCF accredited entity, we believe we have the knowledge and expertise required to ensure the CFF’s success,” states Paul Currie, CIO of the DBSA.

The CFF is only one of a handful of projects where GCF funds will flow directly to a local public finance institution. The DBSA will use these funds to launch the CFF as a green bank within the local financial ecosystem and tied to local priorities. The GCF is providing concessional debt capital to the CFF, which will enable the CFF to catalyze additional private investment from local commercial banks and asset managers.

Following the green bank model, the CFF will focus its investments to “crowd in” private investment at the project level in green sectors where projects currently struggle to access affordable financing at commercial terms. In this way, the CFF will offer globally significant proof-of-concept value to middle- and lower-income nations seeking to address market barriers, making it possible to quickly scale up the high levels of private investment required by Paris climate commitments.

GCF’s $55.6 million investment is matched by the DBSA, which will together make up two-thirds of the initial capitalization of the CFF. For the remaining third, DBSA and its partners have garnered additional interest from large institutional investors and development finance institutions. The CFF is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2018.

The CFF was created by the DBSA and supported by Convergence Blended Finance and the Climate Works Foundation. Convergence awarded a Design Funding grant to the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) to support the DBSA with critical business planning, institutional design, financial product support, capitalization and operationalization of the CFF. The Climate Works Foundation provided support for critical market analysis to inform the market focus and project pipeline potential for the CFF.

“This is a pivotal moment for green banks worldwide,” says Joan Larrea, CEO of Convergence. “Green banks are an example of well-applied blended finance. They are highly specialized structures designed to catalyze large-scale private investment to a low-carbon economy, while creating jobs and wealth. They are one powerful solution to the global challenges of climate change, sustainability, and poverty.”

“Green banks in the US, UK, Australia and elsewhere have repeatedly demonstrated the ability of commercially-minded public investment to open new markets in renewable energy and energy efficiency. We’re excited to see a dynamic emerging economy like South Africa harness the model for its low-carbon and resilient development,” says Ilmi Granoff, Director of Sustainable Finance at ClimateWorks.


Convergence is the global network for blended finance. We generate blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries. The Government of Canada provided funding for the Design Funding program. Convergence is also seeking additional donors interested in supporting us to pilot new blended finance vehicles that aim to catalyze private capital at scale for sustainable development.

Convergence accepts Design Funding applications on a continuous basis, and reviews applications every quarter. To be considered for the next review cycle, practitioners must submit their applications by November 30, 2018. Find out more here.


Founded in 2008, ClimateWorks Foundation is a global organization whose mission is to mobilize philanthropy to help solve the climate crisis and ensure a prosperous future. It does this through performing four key roles: providing a global view to philanthropy of climate mitigation opportunities, facilitating funder collaborations, developing and funding global and transnational climate mitigation strategies, and growing climate philanthropy. For more information about our programs, grantmaking, and partnerships, visit


The DBSA is a leading development finance institution working across the African continent. Established in 1983, our purpose is to promote economic and social development, growth and regional integration through infrastructure finance and development. The DBSA plays a catalytic role in delivering infrastructure in the energy, transport, water and telecommunications sectors, with a secondary focus on health and education. We operate across the infrastructure value chain from planning, preparation, and financing to implementation, delivery and maintenance. At the core of our business, is our vision of a prosperous region, free from poverty. Our mission is to support economic growth through investment in economic infrastructure and improve the quality of life for all, through the development of social infrastructure.


Sijia Yi

Communications Lead

Tel.: +1 647-573-5993

[email protected]