SouthBridge spearheads innovative finance for climate action. Announcing at COP 27 a $2 billion fund to finance locally led restoration and reforestation projects in Africa
November 7, 2022
SHARM EL SHEIKH (November 7, 2022) – SouthBridge Investments and two major financing partners announced unprecedented investment for landscape restoration and reforestation across Africa during the World Leaders’ Summit at COP27.
Over the past three decades, the world lost over 4% of its forests, equating to an area about half the size of India. Leaving Africa as the home to the largest forest reserves on the planet..
Africa has adopted a 100-million-hectare restoration target through the AFR100 and Great Green Wall initiatives. To meet the 20-million-hectare interim target by 2027, communities and SMEs must restore an estimated 8 million hectares of degraded land to keep on track with the efforts to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The urgency to act is clear — climate and biodiversity crises are deeply interconnected and must be addressed simultaneously. We’re not on pace to meet this target. We need more, better, faster restoration.
SouthBridge Investments partnered with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) to announce a $2 billion fund for landscape restoration in Africa.
“We at SouthBridge are elated to be at the forefront of the climate change mitigation and adaptation and will continue to bridge the financing in this sector and Africa as a whole. SouthBridge Group aims to bring a unique perspective to tackle some of Africa’s challenges. With the African Forest Funds – Vumbuzi – we are contributing to address a major issue of our time: getting to net zero. We are excited by this new partnership” said Dr. Donald Kaberuka, Managing Partner of SouthBridge Group.
This fund is a strategic partnership targeting to blend $500 million of concessional finance with $1.5 billion private investment to channel patient capital to local restoration implementers across Africa in alignment with goals of AFR100, Great Green Wall and other partnerships.
“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.” said Ani Dasgupta, President & CEO of World Resources Institute.
Partnerships are key to deliver forest restoration as highlighted by the Director General of BADEA, Dr Sidi Ould Tah, who said: “It is only by joining efforts among African financial institutions that we can tackle Africa’s climate challenges and transform the future of the development trajectory”.
The initiative is captured under an umbrella structure: “Vumbuzi” which means to innovate or to discover in Swahili. Vumbuzi has four pillars: a Foundation to recognize the importance of forests for people and planet; a Private Fund to account for complexities of reforestation; a Public Fund to factor in externalities and impact at different scales; and the first ever sports and sustainability program in Africa — “million wins for the planet” linking wins in sports to reforestation.
Thanks to a grant from the Bezos Earth Fund via World Resources Institute (WRI), SouthBridge Investments was able to design and structure Vumbuzi and is currently catalyzing investments into this facility.
“The Vumbuzi Impact Africa Foundation (VIA) addresses a critical barrier that has slowed the pace of restoration for too long – lack of funding, intermediated effectively to frontline groups. VIA will create a pathway to channel a range of finance solutions to locally-led businesses and community groups, enabling them to grow their operations and shift to more sustainable, market-oriented capital” said Andrew Steer, President and CEO of the Bezos Earth Fund.
In announcing this novel initiative, Frannie Leautier, CEO of SouthBridge Investments said “Vumbuzi is an innovative financing solution leveraging philanthropic and concessional sources of finance to tap into the liquidity in the capital markets.”
About SouthBridge Investments: SouthBridge Investments (SBI) is the investment and asset management arm of SouthBridge Group, a Pan-African advisory and investment company with offices in Abidjan, Casablanca, Kigali, London and Paris. The firm is led by seasoned professionals comprising its founders Donald Kaberuka and Lionel Zinsou, and including its CEO Frannie Leautier, and COO Emeryc Kpenou.
SBI aims to provide a uniquely Pan-African investment service with on the ground operating experience and directly manages a range of investment vehicles, fully dedicated to African markets, and advise partners and clients on investment issues and opportunities on the continent.
SBI’s overarching goal is to be actively involved in the realization of African potential by channeling investments to unique opportunities and differentiates itself through specific features including an unparalleled team with some of the most experienced professionals within the African investment industry, and exceptional network in Africa and across the globe, premium access to deal flow in all regions of the continent, and a strong emphasis on creating value over the long-term.
About BADEA: Founded in 1974 by eighteen Arab countries, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) is Aa2 Moody’s rated 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)
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
About Bezos Earth Fund: The Bezos Earth Fund was created by a commitment of $10 billion from Jeff Bezos to be disbursed as grants within the current decade. The Fund is committed to fighting climate change and protecting nature.
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