British International Investment and Symbiotics partner to launch first ever Green Basket Bond across Africa, South and Southeast Asia

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…the innovative green lending programme is expected to set a new market standard and help scale climate finance across Asia and Africa

British International Investment (“BII”), the UK’s development finance institution (DFI), has subscribed to a $75 million Green Basket Bond arranged by Symbiotics, a leading emerging markets access platform and financial lender. The green lending programme is structured to direct much-needed financing through MSME banks to support small-scale green projects across Africa, South and Southeast Asia.

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BII and Symbiotics have partnered on this innovative lending programme to help accelerate the origination and funding of green projects through MSME banks, particularly those requiring smaller ticket sizes than BII is mandated to fund directly. Loans provided through the basket bond to local MSME banks will unlock capital for existing small-scale green projects such as rooftop solar/off-grid electricity, sustainable agriculture, energy-efficient appliances, energy efficiency improvements, electric vehicles and more.

To further drive impact, BII is providing an additional c. $520,000 through its technical assistance (TA) facility which will be managed by Symbiotics’ provider Symbiotics Association for Sustainable Development (SASD). The TA facility will support these MSME banks to develop their green financing capabilities by enhancing their ability to identify and manage green assets.

This dynamic investment instrument is the first of its kind issued in BII’s markets – covering the African continent, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. It is designed with an ambition to attract increased climate investment that fund green projects and sustainable practices, in addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing access to clean energy.

The success of such a green lending programme will serve as a proof of concept to other investors, bolstered by BII’s 74-year track record as an impact investor, along with Symbiotics’ expertise as an asset manager with an extensive relationship network. It will demonstrate the viability of this alternative investment instrument and attract increased capital from investors seeking to develop and scale climate finance across Africa and Asia.

Jo Fry, Investment Director & Head of Intermediated Credit, British International Investment, added: “This partnership is a testament to BII’s commitment to create and catalyse new funding structures that can help address the greatest challenges in our market. We are delighted to partner with Symbiotics, a trusted impact-focused asset manager, on this pioneering programme that will accelerate inclusive access to climate finance for small-scale entrepreneurs and businesses that are developing green projects or adapting climate-conscious practices in their operations. This innovative green lending programme will ensure BII’s capital can go further to support businesses and projects that otherwise lack access to capital, ensuring that they can continue to grow and deliver positive impact locally and broadly across their communities.”

Daniel Schriber, Head of Investments, Symbiotics, said: “Symbiotics is delighted to structure its first green basket bond in partnership with BII. Adding green use of proceeds to our emerging market investments will broaden the impact of our funding in addressing different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This innovative product will also increase the awareness of climate finance in emerging markets and support financial institutions in further developing and managing their green product range.”

This Green Basket Bond issuance contributes to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy and 13 on Climate Action.

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