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BII invests in Meridiam’s Africa-focused urban resilience fund 

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Published: 27 March 2023

The Urban Resilience Fund is a multi-vehicle blended finance initiative, backed by DFIs and other investors, to support climate-focused projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

The blended finance vehicle finances projects that improve the affordability, safety, reliability, and climate-resilience of public infrastructure in African cities. Photo of Dakar, Senegal by Derejeb on iStock

British International Investment (BII) has committed €20m to an urban infrastructure fund managed by Paris-based asset manager Meridiam that supports climate-focused projects in sub-Saharan Africa. 

The investment is in one strand of the Urban Resilience Fund (TURF), a multi-vehicle blended finance initiative, backed by development finance institutions (DFIs) and other investors, to finance projects that improve the affordability, safety, reliability, and climate-resilience of public infrastructure in African cities. The investment is BII’s first in an urban infrastructure fund.

BII said it wanted to target infrastructure investments such as energy efficiency and carbon capture though the fund. TURF invests in urban transport, microgrids management and other energy transition projects, and built community environments, such as “smart city” solutions, street lighting, and electric vehicle charging. It also invests in waste management systems. 

Meridiam is a specialist in global infrastructure investment, and has a track record of long-term investment in and management of sustainable public infrastructure in Africa.  BII invested in Meridiam’s previous two funds, MIAF I and MIAF II, which backed large-scale greenfield and brownfield infrastructure projects. Among those were two solar parks in Senegal with a combined generating capacity of 60MW, supplying electricity to households and industry. 

The UK DFI said TURF would help provide exemplars of green public infrastructure in Africa’s fast-growing cities, which is in urgent need of investment to tackle problems created by inadequate infrastructure, pollution and congestion. 

“I am pleased to see British International Investment commit to this fund and we are confident that their involvement will help attract much needed additional funding from the private sector in support of vital, clean and green infrastructure in the region,” Andrew Mitchell, the UK’s minister for Development and Africa, said. 

Holger Rothenbusch, BII’s head of infrastructure and climate, described the fund as a “first-of-its-kind” in the market, which would contribute to creating progressive solutions to ensure citizens benefited from the rapid urbanisation taking place in African cities. 

“The fund will deliver clear benefits to local communities at a time when there has never been a more urgent need to invest in sustainable infrastructure to increase climate resilience,” he said.  

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