Catalytic Capital | July 24, 2023

BII anchors SDG Outcomes Fund with $10 million for development impact bonds

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, July 24 — SDG Outcomes Fund is seeking $100 million to provide upfront capital for approximately 15 to 20 “development impact bonds” that target positive health, education, employment and environmental outcomes in West Africa and South Asia.

British International Investment’s has made a $10 million commitment to the fund, marking its first investment in development impact bonds, outcomes-based contracts that are repaid when social and environmental outcomes are achieved. The UK’s development finance institution joins the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. as anchor investors.

The blended finance fund has secured commitments from private investors including Dubai-based Legatum, Tsao Family Office and other high-net-worth individuals.

UBS Optimus Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Swiss bank UBS, and Bridges Outcomes Partnerships, a nonprofit subsidiary of Bridges Fund Management, launched the fund “to improve lives at scale and, over time, to transform the way in which development projects are designed and delivered,” said Bridges’ Mila Lukic.

Strategic partners

In Ghana and Sierra Leone, the SDG Outcomes fund backed government programs to improve education outcomes for young children. In Nigeria, the fund backed Wecycler, a plastic-waste recycling social enterprise that aims to collect over 33,000 tons of plastic waste over five years and create more than 700 jobs.

Tsao’s Bryan Goh said the family office is participating in both the philanthropic and investment tranches “to fully participate in the blended finance structure.” Donations from over 30 UBS clients will provide a 20% first-loss cushion to catalyze additional impact investments in the fund.