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Blended financing to bankroll SDGs, infrastructure goals

6 October 2018

State-owned infrastructure financing company Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI) has been appointed by the government to be the executor of the sustainable development goals (SDG) in Indonesia as it seeks funding to support infrastructure development throughout the archipelago.

The company was appointed in the hope that its experience in obtaining and conceptualizing budgets needed to develop public facilities would be applied to projects focused on the 17 SDGs.

SMI president director Emma Sri Martini said the company initiated the move so it could better utilize the capital and power given to the company by its shareholders, which includes the Finance Ministry as the institution that oversees SMI.

As part of its effort to combine funding sources, the company launched on Friday SDG Indonesia One, a platform to bring together public and private funds to be utilized for SDG-related projects in Indonesia.

Emma said prior to the platform’s launch, the company had raised US$2.3 billion in financing from corporate and individual philanthropists, which would be directed toward the development of public infrastructure.

“We would like to offer our own value propositions, which will make philanthropists happy to deal with their counterparts. We also offer strategic partnerships to execute the SDG projects and measure their results so they can be used for the government’s upcoming development plans,” Emma said in his speech during the platform launch on Friday.

The launch also saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and letter of intent (LoI), which included over 20 benefactors ranging from foreign cooperation agencies, global monetary institutions to private firms.

The company expected to gather $18 billion overall to finance hundreds of SDG-related projects. However, Emma said it was much harder for the company to come up with proper project plans to convince benefactors instead of just securing the funds itself.

Previously, Emma also said the government was seeking to attract additional private funds to finance its SDG-related projects through the 2018 Tri Hita Karana Forum on Sustainable Development, which will be held from Oct. 9 to 11 alongside the upcoming International Monetary Fund-World Bank Group Annual Meetings in Nusa Dua, Bali.

Holding the forum in parallel with the annual meetings would take advantage of the moment to attract private funding for SDGrelated projects, she said.

SMI has identified 31 projects, with an estimated value of $4 billion, that will be bankrolled through blended financing, or a mix of private or philanthropic funds and government funds.

Emma did not provide further details on the projects but said that SMI was prioritizing “green” projects such as renewable energy, environmentally friendly transportation, sanitation facilities and waste management.

Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said during the launch that Indonesia’s infrastructure goals were similar to those in the SDGs, and that therefore the two could be achieved simultaneously.

As an example, she cited the ongoing MRT and light rapid transit (LRT) projects handled by the Transportation Ministry, which despite not being planned with the SDGs in mind, could actually help Indonesia achieve the SDGs by providing affordable public transportation to access educational facilities and workplaces.

“However, blending different sources of funding comes with its own constraints as each has different risk appetites and frameworks,” Sri Mulyani said. “We should address these [issues] so it will not hinder future partnerships.”

Separately, following a meeting on blended financing, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the forum would help Indonesia position itself as a global leader in blended financing programs.

Source: Jakarta Post, 6 Oct 2018