RELEASE: Fund of up to $2 Billion to Finance Locally-Led Restoration in Africa Announced at COP27
- SouthBridge Investments and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) announced a $2 billion blended finance mechanism to support locally led African restoration
- The Bezos Earth Fund announced $50 million in aligned philanthropic support for restoration of two iconic landscapes, the Greater Rusizi Basin and the Great Rift Valley.
- This fund opens the door for more partners to invest in this new, robust mechanism that places locally-led solutions at the center of restoration in Africa.
SHARM EL SHEIKH (November 7, 2022) – Three financing partners of AFR100 announced major commitments today at COP27 to anchor a $2 billion blended finance mechanism that will build local capacity and make grants and loans available for local communities and entrepreneurs restoring land in Africa.
Africa suffers from the highest level of degradation on earth at 65%, leading to food and water insecurity, widespread erosion, limited economic opportunities and vulnerabilities to climate change. To stop degradation and accelerate restoration, the AFR100 partnership was launched by a broad set of partners, anchored by 32 African governments, local entrepreneurs and community groups, financiers and technical support providers. The African Union Development Agency and World Resources Institute provide foundational support, alongside dozens of like-minded partners.
Southbridge Investments, a new AFR100 partner, announced a groundbreaking new partnership with AFR100 and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), another new partner, to develop a $2 billion fund, aiming to blend $500 million of concessional finance with $1.5 billion private investment to support local restoration efforts across the continent. Bezos Earth Fund announced $50 million in aligned philanthropic support.
This new fund came in response to a challenge laid out at COP26 in Glasgow for funders to invest in restoration in Africa. The development of the fund highlights the growing credibility of restoration enterprises as sound investments. It also highlights the importance of blended finance in supporting locally led climate solutions, with philanthropy and government partners providing catalytic risk capital alongside development finance institutions, impact and private investors delivering more scalable sources of finance.
“Africa is a youthful continent. Faced with crises, it has evolved to be the innovation factory of the earth,” said Frannie Leautier, Senior Partner and CEO of SouthBridge Investments. “With these assets and strategic partnerships with the rest of the world, we will not only tackle the challenges of climate change but also design a blueprint for the world’s benefit.”
The Bezos Earth Fund’s funding will strengthen capacity, deliver capital and promote world-class monitoring systems through AFR100 in two iconic African landscapes: the Rusizi River Basin and the Great Rift Valley. This is the second tranche of funding for locally-led restoration in Africa from the Bezos Earth Fund – the first of which was a $15 million in direct support of 100 restoration implementers known as the Top 100 cohort.
“The Bezos Earth Fund has earmarked $1 billion to be spent on restoration by 2030, and we believe Africa is one of the most important places to start,” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of Bezos Earth Fund. “The Top 100 cohort has demonstrated that shovel-ready projects abound across the continent and are already transforming people’s lives and livelihoods. Given access to trainings and adoption of monitoring technologies, these projects can scale up dramatically.
“The challenge now is to channel and varied finance—from grants to loans to carbon finance¬ – to these pioneering entrepreneurs and community leaders so that Africa’s restoration movement has unstoppable momentum,” Steer added.
Forest restoration is a priority for BADEA, said Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, Director General of BADEA.
“Africa not only has a low carbon footprint, but it also plays a key role in capturing greenhouse gases,” he said. “BADEA is working toward restoring forest ecosystems and livelihood or sustainable economic development in Africa. We are very happy with initiatives like this, targeting restoration of Africa’s rich forestry and its great potential to mitigate climate change.
Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO of World Resources Institute, emphasized the role of AFR100 in finding solutions to climate change.
“AFR100 is solving a root problem we all face in climate action: how to get large scale finance into the hands of thousands of local actors in developing countries,” he said. “This round of funding is a breakthrough in how public and private capital can flow directly to the many thousands of entrepreneurs and NGOs restoring vital lands across Africa. This investment represents a beacon of possibility for what finance at scale looks like.”
This funding will be transformational for locally-led restoration organizations, said Sean DeWitt, Director of Global Restoration Initiative at World Resources Institute.
“They’re at the center of the solution,” he said. “These investments will leverage the power of partnerships between African governments, financiers and technical experts to support people on the ground who work on small-scale restoration projects, together adding up to large-scale transformational change in the way landscapes are managed.”
Media questions can be directed to: Krista Karch Director of Communications and Engagement, Global Restoration Initiative at World Resources Institute; 425 212 7631 (WhatsApp/mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org
About World Resources Institute: World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with international offices in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, regional offices in Ethiopia (for Africa) and the Netherlands (for Europe), and program offices in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Our more than 1,700 experts and staff turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. More information at www.wri.org or on Twitter @WorldResources.
About SouthBridge Investments: Dr. Donald Kaberuka and Mr. Lionel Zinsou shared a common vision and, in 2017, joined forces to launch SouthBridge, an innovative financial services firm. Africa needs its own financial instruments. It needs its own talent and human resources to move forward. Its needs to build bridges between ideas, people and financing. A team of highly talented people joined the company and today SouthBridge operates from Kigali, Paris, Abidjan, Casablanca working with clients and partners all over the continent.
About BADEA: Founded in 1974 by eighteen Arab countries, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) is BADEA is rated Aa2/Positive outlook by Moody's, and AA/Stable outlook by S&P Global Ratings. BADEA is a multilateral development financial institution recognized as a reputable partner in Arab–Africa cooperation. BADEA offers a wide array of products and services for financing development in Africa. BADEA products include loans to public and private entities that finance trade, infrastructure, agriculture, rural development, and social sectors, small and medium enterprises with special focus on women and youth, as well as grants for capacity development. BADEA 2030 strategy positions the bank as a flexible, effective, and reliable development partner in Africa’s transformation and progress towards 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for the African Union’s Agenda 2063.