COFIDES has presented the Huruma Fund today, an impact investment fund that will provide financing to smallholder farmers or those excluded in rural areas of Latin America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia.
During the online event organised today by COFIDES entitled: ‘Impact Investment in Times of Pandemic’, severalexperts have discussed various aspects of impact investment (private capital mobilization, or impact investment in Spain) as well as the Huruma Fund itself.
The Huruma Fund consists of 120 million euro, provided by the European Union, FONPRODE (an instrument of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperatio -AECID), COFIDES, and private investors, thanks to the collaboration of CaixaBank Private Banking, which has distributed the fund throughout its national network.
Furthermore, a Technical Assistance Facility (TAF) has been set up to provide consultancy and training services for matters related to agriculture and to help reinforce the entities the fund invests in, with the aim of expanding its impact on excluded rural populations. The TAF may be of up to 10 million euro (from EU and private investors).
This is the first blending project with the European Union led by COFIDES (through the thematic facility AgriFi). The Fund Manager is the Spanish corporation GAWA Capital, a Spanish leader in impact investing.
The Secretary of State for Trade, Xiana Méndez, has highlighted that, “Financial inclusion of the private sector is essential to strengthen the competitiveness of emerging economies and, thereby, of the global economy. Impact investing initiatives such as the Huruma Fund, provide access to many small entrepreneurs operating in essential industries, which will lead to higher levels of economic and environmental sustainability worldwide”. To this end, she emphasised the importance of “promoting financing policies abroad that are more inclusive, fair and sustainable”.
The Chairman of COFIDES, José Luis Curbelo, has said: “the Huruma Fund is an example of how public-private partnerships can help bridge market gaps and reach the base of the pyramid in ways which otherwise would not be viable, improving the lives of people with innovative solutions”. In his view, for COFIDES “it is very significant” to have led this project, “which will enable 45,000 farmers to overcome poverty and will contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals”. José Luis Curbelo has highlighted that, “Under the current uncertainty caused by the pandemic, impact investing is going to be even more important, to ensure no one is left behind during the crisis”.
Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit Rural Development, Food Security and Nutrition, DEVCO C1, European Commission has highlighted that “blended finance solutions -which bring together public resources such as the EU or Spanish government funds, with other funds- hold great potential for promoting greater investment. However, experience has shown us that capital alone does not suffice to improve access to capital –a broader effort is needed to improve strengthen local capacity to serve the market. The EU contribution to the HURUMA Fund is therefore two-fold: (1) a EUR 10m capital contribution to the Fund, which reassures other investors, by covering the first losses suffered, thereby hoping to attract more private sector investors; and (2) a EUR 8.6m to the technical assistance facility which will support local banks in serving the local markets better, and providing suitable products for these local markets”. In addition to this, “Policy dialogue, capacity building and public investment are important further elements in strengthening the enabling framework and making it conducive to sustainable investment and by “sustainable”, we mean investment that provides both financial returns, as well as making a positive social and environmental impact”.
The Joint CEOs of GAWA Capital, Luca Torre and Agustín Vitórica, have pointed out that “with Huruma we are delving into the transformation of financial entities to address these specific social challenges. In this case, we are enabling smallholder farmers to access customised financial products to improve their productivity and revenue”. Moreover, they underlined that, “Huruma’s blended financing structure has allowed us to mobilize 90 million euro of private investment in just 10 months”.
At the event, two prominent academic experts, Sir Paul Collier, Professor at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and José Antonio Alonso, Professor at the Complutense University of Madrid, discussed impact investing and the latest industry trends.
The Huruma Fund managers, Agustín Vitórica and Luca Torre, (GAWA Capital), presented their own fund together with the European Commission expert on agriculture, Regis Meritan, providing a view of the value added of this type of financing for the industry.
There was also a discussion among the Fund’s anchor investors, moderated by the Managing Director of COFIDES, Rodrigo Madrazo. Participating at this round-table were Fernando Jimenez Ontiveros, Director of Multilateral, Horizontal and Financial Cooperation of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID); Mathew Brooke, Policy Officer for Private Sector/Agribusiness, Innovative Financing and Risk Management and Fair Trade, DEVCO C1 "Rural Development, Food Safety and Nutrition", of the European Commission, and Juan Llamas, Commercial Director of CaixaBank Private Banking, who analysed the advantages of their contributions to the Fund and its importance for mobilizing private capital.
Finally, in order to understand the current state of impact investing in Spain, key industry players talked about its international potential and role. This panel, moderated by the Editor-in-Chief of Cinco Días, José Antonio Vega, included the Finance Director of the BBVA Foundation, Alejandro Lorca; the Chairman of COFIDES, José Luis Curbelo, and the Spanish impact fund managers Emilio Ayanz of CREAS Impacto and Pablo Valencia of Qualitas Equity.
COFIDES is a state-owned company which has been offering financial support to Spanish companies investing abroad. COFIDES is accredited to the European Union (EU) to manage funds coming from the EU budget, allowing the structuring of transactions with a high impact on development. COFIDES is also accredited to the UN’s Green Climate Fund (GCF) and can therefore structure operations on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Moreover, COFIDES is the exclusive manager of FIEX and FONPYME funds on behalf of the Secretariat of State for Trade attached to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and also supports AECID in managing FONPRODE funds. COFIDES’s shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and CAF-Development Bank of Latin America.