The International Finance Corporation's Blended Finance Operations

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The International Finance Corporation’sBlended Finance OperationsFindings from a Cluster of ProjectPerformance Assessment Reports

2020 International Bank for Reconstruction andDevelopment / The World Bank1818 H Street NWWashington, DC 20433Telephone: 202-473-1000Internet: www.worldbank.orgAttribution—Please cite the report as: World Bank.2020. The International Finance Corporation’sBlended Finance Operations: Findings from aCluster of Project Performance AssessmentReports. Independent Evaluation Group.Washington, DC: World Bank.Pictured: Men in Kenya guard their livestock. IEG’sevaluation has found that blended finance hasimproved dairy farmers’ capacity to improve herdmanagement and quality.Photo credit: Dragos Lucian Birtoiu /ShutterstockThis work is a product of the staff of The WorldBank with external contributions. The findings,interpretations, and conclusions expressed in thiswork do not necessarily reflect the views of TheWorld Bank, its Board of Executive Directors, or thegovernments they represent.RIGHTS AND PERMISSIONSThe material in this work is subject to copyright.Because The World Bank encourages disseminationof its knowledge, this work may be reproduced, inwhole or in part, for noncommercial purposes aslong as full attribution to this work is given.The World Bank does not guarantee the accuracy ofthe data included in this work.The boundaries, colors, denominations, and otherinformation shown on any map in this work do notimply any judgment on the part of The World Bankconcerning the legal status of any territory or theendorsement or acceptance of such boundaries.Any queries on rights and licenses, includingsubsidiary rights, should be addressed to WorldBank Publications, The World Bank Group, 1818 HStreet NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA; fax: 202522-2625; e-mail:

The International Finance Corporation’sBlended Finance OperationsFindings from a Cluster of ProjectPerformance Assessment ReportsCareful observation andanalysis of program dataand the many issuesimpacting programefficacy reveals whatworks as well as whatcould work better. Theknowledge gleaned isvaluable to all who striveto ensure that WorldBank goals are met andsurpassed.

AbbreviationsIDAInternational Development AssociationIFCInternational Finance CorporationMIGAMultilateral Investment Guarantee AgencyAll dollar amounts are U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.Independent Evaluation Group Management and Project Performance Assessment Report TeamDirector-General, Independent EvaluationMs. Alison EvansDirector, Financial, Private Sector, and Sustainable DevelopmentMr. José C. CarbajoSenior Manager, Finance and Private Sector DevelopmentMr. Stoyan TenevTask ManagersMr. Hiroyuki HatashimaMs. Unurjargal Demberel2The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

ContentsAcknowledgments 51.Context 6International Financial Institution Principles of Blended Concessional Finance 92.Results and Lessons from Earlier Projects (2010–14) 10Earlier Projects Reveal Startup Challenges 1012Two Relevant Lessons from Early Experience 3.Deep Dives into Recent Blended Finance Projects (2012–16) 13Projects Evaluated 13Evaluation Findings from Deep Dive Cases 184.Did Projects Realize Commercial Sustainability? 18Did Projects Provide Sustainable Economic Benefits? 18Effects Beyond the Project Entities Were Vital for a Stronger Development Footprint of the Project 19What Worked Well? 22Blended Finance Helped the Projects Get Off the Ground 22Advisory Services Played a Pivotal Role in Enhancing the Development Footprint of the Project 235.Areas That Need Attention 266.Lessons for Successful Blended Finance Projects 27Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group3

BoxesBox 4.1. Projects Meeting Blended Financing Principles 25FiguresFigure 1.1. IFC’s Blended Finance 8Figure 2.1. Project Outcome Ratings 11TablesTable 3.1. Projects and Objectives 14Table 3.2. Blended Finance Used for the Projects 16Table 3.3. Summary of Project Outcome 20Table 4.1. Contributions of IFC Advisory Services or Technical Interventions 244The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

AcknowledgmentsThe Independent Evaluation Group team appreciates the availability of and support provided by theblended finance team of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), in particular support from MartinSpicer, Jeremie Dumon, the IFC project teams (Natalia Donde, Radwa Elsharkawi, Nelly Feze, WilliamKizito, Donald Nzorubara), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency Project Evaluation Reportteam (Bexi Jimenez Mota, Joana Nicolau, and Wenhe Zhang) for this evaluation.The team is grateful to IFC’s clients for the opportunity to interact with key stakeholders during field visits.The evaluation team was led by Hiroyuki Hatashima and Unurjargal Demberel. Gürkan Kuntasal performed the environmental and social evaluation with support from Sanjeev Aggarwal and Elaine WeeLing Ooi. Beata Lenard, Ichiro Toda, and Carlos Otobed Stagliano peer reviewed the underlying projectevaluations. Data support was provided by Leonardo Bravo and Feruza Akbarovna Abduazimova, andadministrative and budget support were provided by Marylou-Kam Cheong, Feruza Akbarovna Abduazimova, Emelda Cudilla, and Linette Atieno Malago.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group5

1. ContextBlended finance is a risk mitigation tool applied to investments for which it isdifficult to attract commercial funding.Blended finance refers to the combination of concessional andcommercial funding in private sector–led projects. Its rationale isto support projects with potentially high social benefits that wouldnot attract funding on strictly commercial terms because of theirhigh risks.The purpose of this evaluation is to inform IFC’s approach to the deploymentof the blended finance instrument with evaluative findings on the performance and outcomes of projects using it.This note synthesizes evaluation findings from two sources:(i) IFC’s early experience with blended finance as reflected in 14 projectevaluations of projects approved over 2010–14; and(ii) a cluster of five Project Performance Assessment Reports of projectsapproved over 2012–16. The emphasis is on findings from the morerecent projects.6The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Two definitions of blended finance exist among development players.Most agree on the core elements of the definition, which involve strategic use of public or concessional funding to catalyze private sectorinvestment for development.Organisation for Economic Co-operation andDevelopment–Development Assistance Committee DefinitionInternational Financial Institution Working GroupDefinition“The strategic use of development finance for themobilization of additional finance toward sustainable development in developing countries,” with‘additional finance’ referring primarily to commercial finance” (October 2017).“Combining concessional finance from donors orthird parties alongside DFIs’ [development financeinstitutions’] normal own account finance and/or commercial finance from other investors, todevelop private sector markets, address the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and mobilizeprivate resources.” (April 2017)This definition focuses on the mobilization ofcommercial finance, which is not currently beingdirected toward development-related investments, including all official development assistance, foreign direct investments, grants, trustfunds, and others.The DFI definition refers to a specific segment ofthe institution’s operations that receives concessional financing as a supplementary element toenhance its potential.Blended finance by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) follows theDFI definition and excludes grants in recognizing concessional co-investment with IFC’s own investment.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group7

Figure 1.1. IFC’s Blended FinanceConcessionalCoinvestment IFC InvestmentConcessional coinvestment Financing at softerterms through price, tenor, rank, or security, ora combination to reduce project riskMarket-basedfinancingSenior ormezzanine debt onsubcommercialtermsGuarantee(for example,first loss fora portfolio)Early stageequity withinsufficientreturnsGrantsDFI working group definition of blended financeOECD DAC definition of blended financeNote: DFI development finance institution; OECD DAC Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development–Development Assistance Committee.IFC leads international financial institutions in establishing common principles of blended finance thatguide the justification of deploying concessional resources.8The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Development Finance Institution Principles ofBlended Concessional FinancePrinciple 1. Present a rationale or economic case for using blendedconcessional financeDFI support of the private sector should contribute somethingbeyond what is available or something otherwise absent fromthe market and should not crowd out the private sector.Principle 2. Support crowding-in and minimum concessionalityDFI support to the private sector should, to the extent possible,contribute to catalyzing market development and to the mobilization of private sector resources.Principle 3. Create commercial sustainabilityDFI support of the private sector and the impact achieved byeach operation should aim to be sustainable. DFI support istherefore expected to contribute toward the commercial viabilityof the institution’s clients.Principle 4. Reinforce marketsDFI assistance to the private sector should be structured toeffectively and efficiently address market failures and minimizethe risk of disrupting or unduly distorting markets or crowdingout private finance, including new entrants.Principle 5. Promote high standardsDFI private sector operations should promote adherence tohigh standards of conduct in their clients, including in the areasof Corporate Governance, Environmental Impact, Social Inclusion, Transparency, Integrity, and Disclosure.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group9

2. Results and Lessons fromEarlier Projects (2010–14)FY10—18IFC’s approach to and experience with blended finance projects has beenevolving since FY10. 929 million concessionaldonor fundssupport169projects 3.5 billionIFC financingThe new Replenishment of the International Development Association(IDA)–IFC–Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) Private SectorWindow includes a blended finance facility, a risk mitigation facility, a localcurrency facility, and a MIGA guarantee facility. The Window is expectedto generate projects and mobilize capital in IDA countries and fragile andconflict-affected situations.Earlier Projects Reveal Startup ChallengesFourteen projects with blended finance components were sampled andevaluated during the regular project evaluation cycle. These projects werefrom the early years of formal blended finance operations, were predominantly in middle-income countries, and mostly focused on climate change.Most of the projects were “wholesale” (that is, using financial intermediariesto target beneficiary companies) as opposed to “retail” (projects with identified client companies).Of 14 evaluated projects, 4 achieved their development objectives and metperformance benchmarks. Overall, these early and predominantly risk-sharing facility projects had weak business and economic effects compared withwhat was expected at the time of approval by the Board of Executive Directors. However, they showed good adherence to environmental and socialstandards because they were mostly with repeat clients who had alreadyestablished environmental and social capacities. Low use of facilities wasfrequent, and projects’ intended objectives were often not realized.10The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Figure 2.1. Project Outcome Ratings29Development outcome21Project business success14Economic sustainability71Environmental and social effects36Private sector development01020304050607080Projects with high outcome ratings (percent)Note: The development outcome rating is a synthesis assessment of the project’s results across four developmentdimensions. In a binary analysis performed by the Independent Evaluation Group, “high outcome rating” refers tomostly successful or better on the six-point scale of development outcome and to satisfactory or better on thefour-point scale for the rest of criteria.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group11

Two Relevant Lessons from Early Experience1. Blended finance did not provide enough incentive for clients toenter into new, perceived high-risk business. Technical assistance was also not sufficient.A sponsor’s business model and client base should be alignedwith the type of intended beneficiaries. Otherwise, low use is tobe expected (for example, banks whose main clients are largeindustries would use little medium enterprise finance).Assessment of demand for sustainable financing in the targetsegment (small and medium enterprises) was limited.2. The business case for the development project should bestrong and based on robust market assessment. If the businesscase is weak, continued reliance on government support shouldbe questioned. For instance, in several cases, governmentsfroze the implementation of a renewable energy regulatoryframework, which negatively affected the client bank’s expansion to financing small hydropower projects.If the success of the project requires improved policy and regulatory frameworks or adequate regulatory incentives, cooperation between IFC and the World Bank becomes key.These early projects, which predate the prioritization of fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) and low-income and IDA countries, do notnecessarily align with the current emphasis on such countries as indicatedmore recently by donors such as the Global Agriculture and Food SecurityProgram or the Private Sector Window, the latest and growing area of IFC’sblended finance.12The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

3. Deep Dives into Recent BlendedFinance Projects (2012–16)In addition to the project evaluations from the regular cycle, the Independent Evaluation Group conducted deep dives of purposefully selectedprojects (four IFC projects with blended finance) that reflect the World BankGroup’s current strategic emphasis on low-income countries and FCS. Theyhad a mix of financial instruments such as equity, subordinated debt, andrisk-sharing facilities, in Africa and the Middle East. A MIGA project was alsoreviewed for relevant lessons.Projects EvaluatedThe IFC projects covered a dairy producer, leasing for agriculture cooperatives, a food processing company, and a fund for affordable housing withgreen features. MIGA supported a wastewater treatment plant operatingunder a public-private partnership arrangement with an expansion using acommercial bank loan and donor funding.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group13

IndustryTable 3.1. Projects and ObjectivesDairyLeasingFood processingEstablish a new, fully oper-Introduce equipment leasingComplete expansion of pro-ational, higher-capacity milkfor agriculture cooperatives,duction facility for specialtyprocessing facility and milkwhich otherwise face thenutritious products for reliefcollection centershigh cost of maintaining oldagenciesProjectequipment and are unable toprovide good product collection from rural farmers Objectives Provide market access and help improve theand contribute to improvingincomes of dairy farmerssmallholder farmers’ incomein the countryby increasing the quality of Contribute to the devel-Reach small farmerscocoa collectedopment of a formal dairy industrycooperatives by replicating in Generate direct perma-Increase lending toother financial institutionsnent employment for 150people and improve thelivelihoods of over 10,000farmers in rural areasNote: MIGA Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency.14The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations Enhance food security forthe vulnerable population Improve health andeducation outcomes forchildren

Affordable housingWastewater treatment plant(MIGA)Establish a fund for earlyExpand the existing wa-investments in affordableter treatment plant on ahousing projectsbuild-operate-transfer basisto enhance its capacityto meet the needs of thegrowing population (theMIGA guarantee was forprivate sector shareholdersunder the existing build-operate-transfer arrangement,for coverages of country riskevents) Increase supply of qualitycountryity to increase access tosafe water and sanitation Create jobs during bothty management Introduce economicstimulus through inputs,infrastructure, and higherdisposable income Expand wastewater andsludge treatment capac-construction and proper- affordable housing in Improve the local environment and contributeto energy production,employment generation,government revenue, andthe development of otherbusinesses Develop green homesthat incorporate energy- and water-efficienttechnologiesIndependent Evaluation Group World Bank Group15

Rationale for Blended FinanceIndustryTable 3.2. Blended Finance Used for the ProjectsDairyFood processingThe sponsors of a greenfieldThe agriculture cooperativesThe food product had strin-operation in the dairy sector indid not have access to formalgent quality standards, andan IDA country with weak in-banking systems, and banksthe facility needed increasedfrastructure, market and supplywere reluctant to work withcapacity for timely responsechain uncertainties, emergencies. The sponsorto commodity price fluctua-had a limited track recordtions, and intense competitionin manufacturing specialtyfrom semiformal and informalproducts, and the companybusinesses, were new to thewas exposed to the risk ofdairy sector and did not haveclient concentration of key aidthe finances to support the in the case of acceleration. Blended Finance Features or SubsidiesLeasing The interest rate for blend- The blended finance com- ed finance was lower thanponent of the mezzaninehad the same terms as thethat for IFC’s loan.loss tranche would reduceIFC loan but subordinated.the expected loss for IFC’s The subsidy was given intranche, making the pricethe form of a lower interestof the deal close to therate charge and subordina-level acceptable to projecttion compared with IFC’scounterparts. for the client company. subordination premium,thus lowering financialcharges compared with thelower guarantee fee for theclient bank to carry out theestimated at 5% of totalleasing program.project cost. instrument risk. The subsidy created a The subsidy element was The subsidy was given inthe form of not chargingloan, which lowered costs The blended finance loan The subsidy was estimatedat 2.7% of total projectcost. The subsidy element wasestimated at 2.5% of totalproject cost.Note: IDA International Development Association; IFC International Finance Corporation; MIGA MultilateralInvestment Guarantee Agency.16The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Affordable housingWastewater treatment plant (MIGA)The cost of greening is highA gap exists between the ability and willingness toand cannot be passed on frompay for wastewater treatment and the actual costdevelopers to home buyersof treatment. Water and wastewater infrastructureand renters. The affordableoften have high social returns but cannot achievehousing fund would not havesocially acceptable commercial rates of return.invested in the developmentPrivate investors have to make substantial upfrontof green homes because theinvestments with long gestation periods but oftenadditional cost of greeningface capped returns and possible pressures towould have lowered returns forsubsidize users.its investors. Blended finance was in the commercial bank loan, government funding,returns than those for itsand a bilateral partners by initialcapping of returns, with of the expansion.investors were paid theexpected returns. able treatment in the fund to pargreening costs. The equity was estimatedat 2% of total fund size. A grant covering more than half of project costwas needed to achieve the objective of afford- IFC structured blendedtially cover the incremental The subsidy was in the form of grants to theproject capital works to lower the capital costcatching up once other The project was financed through a syndicatedform of equity, with lower By halving the investment cost from the projectcompany, the project company could lower itsoperating cost (including financial charges), thuslowering the wastewater treatment charges.The lower bill for treatment partially offsets thegovernment’s subsidy for the end users.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group17

Evaluation Findings from Deep Dive CasesDid Projects Realize Commercial Sustainability?In all cases, commercial sustainability was achieved. Thecreation and expansion of viable businesses were necessaryconditions to realize the intended project benefits supportedby blended finance. Dairy and food processing companiesachieved successful expansion (out of a high-risk greenfieldperiod, which established a track record) and exponentialrevenue growth and realized high market share. For leasing andwastewater treatment plant projects, the commercial return wasmoderate because the deal structures capping the return. Forthem, social return significantly exceeds private returns, whichis an important criterion for deploying subsidies.Did Projects Provide Sustainable Economic Benefits?All five projects realized economic benefits and achieved thesustainability of results despite high riskiness. They broughtpositive effects to end beneficiaries and to the markets in whichthey operate. Dairy and leasing projects had higher purchases from local farmers, increased farmers’ incomes, and liftedthousands out of poverty. The housing project delivered notjust affordable housing but energy and water savings to lower-income individuals. The food processing project producedspecialty food to treat children with malnutrition, and morechildren were saved owing to the lower prices of the productand transport cost through local production. The objectives andachieved benefits of the projects were linked with SustainableDevelopment Goals, such as 2–Zero Hunger, 8–Decent Workand Economic Growth, and 13–Climate Action. Market effects(competition, dissemination of good practice, and adoptionthrough demonstration) were also observed.18The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Effects Beyond the Project Entities Were Vital for aStronger Development Footprint of the ProjectProjects also had market effects through demonstration andreplication by other players. The dairy project contributed to exports to neighboring countries, demonstrating quality standardsfor food safety. The leasing company’s approach was replicatedin the market, thus spreading positive effects.Projects achieved positive outcomes for end beneficiariesand stimulated market creation beyond the project entities.The causal link between project subsidies and the economicbenefits to intended beneficiaries was evident in most of the projects because their design ensured that benefits from the subsidyare passed along the causal chain to the ultimate beneficiaries. Inall cases, the project subsidies have enabled economic benefitsthat significantly exceeded the cost of the subsidy.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group19

IndustryTable 3.3. Summary of Project OutcomesEffects on ainabilityDairy LeasingCommercial sustainabilityCommercial sustainabilityCommercial sustainabilityachievedachievedachievedSuccessful expansion andAssets of good quality in theSuccessful expansion andexponential revenue growthlease portfolioexponential revenue growth New collection centers and Higher income for farmersincreased capacity for dairythrough intensified collec-farmers to improve herdtion of productsmanagement and quality Increased sales by farmers8DECENTWORK ANDECONOMICGROWTHContributed to export growthMarketEffectsFood processing8DECENTWORK ANDECONOMICGROWTH Lives saved (directly andindirectly)2ZEROHUNGER3GOODHEALTH ANDWELL-BEINGSpread a new financing ap-Increased competition andproach to other market playersreduced prices for specialtyproductsNote: IDA International Development Association; IFC International Finance Corporation; MIGA MultilateralInvestment Guarantee Agency.20The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Affordable housingWastewater treatment plant(MIGA)Commercial sustainabilityCommercial sustainabilityachievedachievedThe fund’s gross return for allPublic-private partnershipthe funded deals was positivearrangement maintainedin local currency terms Energy and water savings in the units builtservice coverage and useWastewater treatmentof treated wastewater for13CLIMATEACTIONirrigation6CLEANWATER ANDSANITATIONMarket growth of greenNot applicable as a publicbuildingserviceIndependent Evaluation Group World Bank Group21

4. What Worked Well?Blended Finance Helped the Projects Get Offthe GroundAll projects display high-risk characteristics. For example, the dairy projectwas a greenfield operation in an IDA country with weak infrastructure, market and supply chain uncertainties, sensitivity to commodity price fluctuations, and intense competition from semiformal and informal businesses,and the sponsors were new to the dairy sector. The food processing projectrequires stringent quality standards and specifications, and the sponsor hada limited track record in manufacturing specialty products. A leasing projectwas in a postconflict country and the agriculture cooperatives involved inthe business had no formal banking experience. Affordable housing projectsnever had a green building, which was a component supported by blendedfinance. Some clients did not have the financial strength to supplement cashshortfalls, and investors like IFC were reluctant to invest in such projects.The subsidy amount was between 2 percent and 5 percent of project costs,indicating that it was close to the minimum needed to catalyze the transaction, including the mobilization of other financiers (official and commercial).Advisory Services Played a Pivotal Role inEnhancing the Development Footprint of theProjectNonfinancial additionality, in the form of subsidized advisory services on topof the financial subsidy, also reduced project risks. Technical assistanceoften accompanied blended finance operations because the projects wereinnovative ventures dealing with less-experienced clients and stakeholders(farmers, cooperatives), thus requiring capacity building advisory services orclose hand-holding by IFC. For the dairy project, IFC supported expandingextension services to some model farmers. They had been successful in reducing a seasonal variety of milk production through feed management anddisease control. For the leasing project, IFC supported training for cooperatives to enhance their business management skills, including budgetingand cost control. In several instances, the cost of the technical assistancesupport greatly exceeded the subsidy element of blended finance.22The International Finance Corporation’s Blended Finance Operations

Advisory Services orTechnical InterventionIndustryTable 4.1. Contributions of IFC Advisory Services or Technical InterventionsDairyLeasingAffordable housingIFC supported advisory in foodBefore the truck leasingAfter approval, IFC saw thesafety. The client subse-program’s launch, a capacityproject’s potential to push aquently pursued the advisorybuilding advisory services proj-green agenda in residentialproject for dairy supply chainect was given to the cooper-housing sector. IFC had on-development by contributingatives for enhancing businessgoing work with the coun-significant funds from its ownmanagement skills, includingtry’s Green Building Councilresources.budgeting and cost control.through the EDGE program.Those cooperatives thatIFC persuaded the fundsuccessfully completed themanager to promote greenprogram became candidatesinvestments in its portfoliofor the truck leasing program.and enabled it to do so byarranging blended financeand building capacity throughAdvisory ServicesContributionsEDGE.The advisory services proj- One of the risks of guarantee As approved, the affordableect is expanding extensionfacility was low usage duehousing fund’s focus was onservices. Model farmers hadto lack of eligible candidatesdevelopment, and it did notbeen successful in reducingand minimal interest fromhave a green agenda. Throughthe seasonable variability ofbanks. Sequencing technicala holistic approach involvingmilk production, among otherassistance to beneficiaries toinvestment and capacity build-things, because of feed man-prepare for financing contribut-ing, IFC could influence itsagement and disease control.ed to high use of the risk-shar-client and the broader marketing facility, with virtually noto adopt new practices andpayment defaults.move into previously untestedniche areas such as greenbuildings.Note: EDGE Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies; IFC International Finance Corporation.Independent Evaluation Group World Bank Group23

Box 4.1. Projects Meeting Blended Financing PrinciplesBy deploying financial and nonfinancial additionality, all International Finance Corporation projects metblended financing principles:Economic Case for Blended Finance A subsidy ensured financing that was not available from alternative sources.Crowding-In and Minimum Concessionality The amount was the minimum needed to realize the transaction, with some other official and commercial financin

The International Finance Corporation's Blended Finance Operations . 1. Context. Blended finance is a risk mitigation tool applied to investments for which it is difficult to attract commercial funding. Blended finance refers to the combination of concessional and commercial funding in private sector-led projects. Its rationale is

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