The Green Climate Fund’s, GFC, junior first-loss equity investment into ICRF marks its single largest equity investment in Africa to date.
Approved during the recently concluded 35th meeting of the GCF Board, this landmark transaction also represents GCF’s biggest commitment to an Africa-wide multi-country program, facilitating AFC’s innovative introduction of climate-resilient infrastructure as a new asset class in the African investment landscape.
With a target fund size of $750 million, ICRF is an innovative finance instrument established to climate proof Africa’s infrastructure by integrating scientific climate-resilient measures in the planning, design, development, construction and operation of infrastructure assets in alignment with the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Through ICRF, AFC Capital Partners will finance greenfield and brownfield infrastructure that is planned, designed, built and operated in a way that anticipates, prepares for, and adapts to the continent’s changing climate conditions. ICRF will co-invest with AFC in opportunities that ﬁt the Fund’s climate mandate and investment criteria, with a focus on climate-resilient transport and logistics, energy systems, economic zones, and telecommunication and digital infrastructure.
Yannick Glemarec, GCF Executive Director, said: “ICRF is a pioneering fund that will catalyze the development of climate-resilient infrastructure across Africa. GCF’s first-loss anchor investment in ICRF will mobilize African pension funds and other private investors to invest in climate-resilient infrastructure as a new asset class in Africa. It will also serve as a model for local banks and financial institutions to engage in climate finance. I’m delighted that GCF is partnering with AFC on GCF’s largest equity investment in Africa to date.”
The GCF’s US$240 million equity investment will support the incremental cost required to integrate adaptation and climate-resilient measures into climate-proofing infrastructure, thereby de-risking participation of commercial institutional investors to mobilize funding at scale. GCF has committed a further US$13.7 million in grant financing.
By blending concessional capital into the Fund, ICRF will attract commercial capital to climate-resilient infrastructure in Africa, with the first-loss position of concessional capital from the GCF encouraging the flow of private capital to climate-resilient infrastructure investment opportunities. The ICRF will target institutional investors including African pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and insurance companies.
Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of Africa Finance Corporation, commented: “AFC with our valued partners at the Green Climate Fund are opening up an entirely new asset class that will prove transformational in changing the way infrastructure is planned, developed and constructed in a new climate change scenario. We are leveraging the massive untapped pool of institutional capital to provide climate finance at scale to bridge Africa’s infrastructure deficit and unleash its economic potential. The GCF’s commitment as an anchor investor in the ICRF will catalyze a diverse investor base of patient commercial capital providers, including African pension funds, with a long-term horizon and familiarity with Africa-specific perceived risk.”
Rising temperatures, infrequent precipitation patterns, flooding and other extreme weather patterns threaten critical existing and yet-to-be-built infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa – a region already challenged by infrastructure that is low in quantity, quality and accessibility. Climate change also heightens pre-existing investment barriers, putting economic growth and development at risk across significant regions.
The problem of financing climate-resilient infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa amounts to a financial summit of investment barriers that few private investors are currently willing to scale. To address this, GCF will supply junior first-loss equity to catalyze further financing from private sector investors and pension funds.
The ICRF supports development of climate-resilient infrastructure projects in a region struggling to unlock such funding in isolation. By building reliable infrastructure services, GCF’s investment is projected to benefit up to 50 million people directly and 144 million people indirectly.
The ICRF will target 19 countries including Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia.