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Press Release

Swiss public-private partnership opens doors to projects mobilizing investment for the SDGs

  • SDG Impact Finance Initiative calls for proposals focusing on education, jobs, climate and responsible consumption/production
  • Global blended finance network Convergence kicks off first round of proposals, seeking innovative financial solutions in support of the SDGs
  • SDG Impact Finance Initiative aims to mobilize up to 1 billion Swiss francs in private capital by 2030 for innovative, impact finance projects

Zurich, Bern, and Toronto, March 22, 2022 – The SDG Impact Finance Initiative, a Swiss public-private partnership, announced its first call for proposals, preparing to award grants for innovative impact finance solutions that will mobilize private capital for sustainable development in emerging and frontier markets.

The launch comes three months after Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), UBS Optimus Foundation, Credit Suisse Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) launched the Initiative, aiming to mobilize up to one billion Swiss francs in private capital by 2030 to advance measurable impact in developing countries.

In the first major step forward, the SDG Impact Finance Initiative partnered with the global blended finance network Convergence to open a Design Funding Window to receive and evaluate proposals. This first call for proposals will focus on solutions that target SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), and SDG 13 (Climate Action). The second call, set for later in 2022, will expand to other SDGs.

The need to mobilize private sector capital in support of the 17 United Nations SDGs has never been more urgent. The SDG investment gap continues to grow, climate action appears to be stalling, and the negative long-range effects of COVID-19 disproportionately hurt the countries and populations that can least afford it.

“This mission is more important than ever as the initiative opens its doors to innovative projects that will support education, jobs, and climate protection. Philanthropic and public capital can pave the way for private investors to finance initiatives with strong social and environmental impact. We aim to fund new ideas, pilot concepts, and de-risk financial structures while maintaining a strict focus on measurable impact,” says Dhun Davar, Head of Social Finance at UBS Optimus Foundation.

To attract private capital to sustainable development, the initiative aims to accelerate advancements in the impact investing market by supporting the launch of innovative solutions that address market failures, deploy financial products that are under-supplied or supplied at insufficient volumes, and mobilize funding into new sectors and regions.

The SDG Impact Finance Initiative will award feasibility study grants, ranging from USD 50,000 to USD 500,000. The Design Funding Window is now open and the first submission deadline is June 30, 2022.

“This call for proposals will ultimately lead to new and better high impact financial vehicles revitalizing a market burdened up to now by high design and setup costs. We hope to receive many innovative and collaborative ideas that can generate a significant, measurable impact in developing countries and mobilize private investment at scale,” says Liliana de Sá Kirchknopf, Head of Private Sector Development at SECO.

About the SDG Impact Finance Initiative

The SDG Impact Finance Initiative supports the development and scaling of innovative finance solutions that mobilize private capital and contribute to measurable results in line with the SDGs in developing countries. The initiative strengthens the impact finance ecosystem globally as a public-private partnership founded by SECO, UBS Optimus Foundation, Credit Suisse Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The initiative aims to deploy 100 million Swiss francs of catalytic funding to mobilize 1 billion Swiss francs of private capital to the SDGs by 2030.

About Convergence and the Design Funding Program

Convergence is the global network for blended finance. On top of market acceleration through its Design Funding program, Convergence generates blended finance data, intelligence, and deal flow to increase private sector investment in developing countries. Convergence’s global membership includes over 200 public, private, and philanthropic investors as well as sponsors of transactions and funds. Convergence’s Design Funding program offers a unique market acceleration opportunity for practitioners to secure feasibility study and proof of concept stage design funding to develop and launch catalytic blended finance vehicles that aim to attract private capital to sustainable development at scale. To date, Convergence’s existing windows have awarded over 8 million US dollars in grant funding, which has raised over 1.5 billion US dollars of additional capital.

Media Contacts

Sijia Yi
Head of Communications, Convergence
Tel.: +1 647-573-5993
[email protected]

Thomas Atkins
Senior Media Advisor, UBS
Tel.: +41 44 235 1593
[email protected]

Yanik Schubiger
Media Relations, Credit Suisse
Tel.: +41 44 332 16 87
[email protected]

Lorenz Jakob
Information Officer, SECO
Tel.: +41 58 468 60 56
[email protected]