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In brief: Italy’s sovereign wealth fund backs post-Olympics student housing

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Published: 25 March 2024

Plus, BIE report reveals criteria for sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine’s buildings | Spain’s DFI enters agreement to support rural microenterprises in Ecuador

The €50m investment will be used to transform the Athletes Village in the Olympic Park at Porta Romana into a 1,700 bed student accommodation following the Olympic Games | COIMA SGR and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM)

CDP Real Asset, the hub for the real estate and infrastructure fund and asset management activities of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti Equity, Italy’s sovereign wealth fund, has invested €50m in the COIMA ESG City Impact Fund (COIMA Impact).

Managed by COIMA SGR, a real estate investor, developer and manager, the fund, which has raised more than €900m to date from a range of Italian institutional investors, is Italy’s largest urban regeneration fund.

The €50m from CDP Real Asset will be used to transform the Athletes Village in the Olympic Park at Porta Romana in Milan, into a 1,700 bed student accommodation following the Olympic Games.

The investment has been made through the CDP Real Asset-managed National Fund for Sustainable Housing (FNAS), a closed-end alternative investment fund, which aims to promote real estate projects of up to €1bn that have a strong focus on sustainability and social impact. The investment in what will be Italy’s largest purpose-built student accommodation development, will help to address a major shortage of student accommodation in Milan.

Manfredi Catella, founder and CEO of COIMA SGR, said: “This investment means the COIMA ESG City Impact Fund has now raised over €900m from primary institutional investors, underlining the value investors continue to place on sustainable urban regeneration that generates strong positive social and economic impacts. We now look forward to the next phase of fundraising for this flagship fund, which is rated as one of the most sustainable real estate funds globally.”

COIMA SGR said it had increased the target size of its fund from €1bn to €2bn and was actively fundraising.

BPIE highlights investment criteria in a new report for the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine

Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) has published six investment criteria in a new report which aims to drive the sustainable reconstruction of Ukraine’s heavily damaged built environment.  

The Building Back Better report, which calls on multilateral donors and the Ukrainian government to allocate funding to projects that meet ambitious energy efficiency, renewable energy, climate adaptation, and circularity criteria, aligns criteria to scenarios representing different levels of damage defined as minor, moderate and heavy.

A recent assessment from the World Bank revealed that in the housing sector alone, the total cost of the damage since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is estimated to be $55.9bn, with an estimated $80.3bn needed for reconstruction.

Following the ‘build back better’ principle, the report stresses the need to reconstruct Ukrainian building stock in alignment with existing EU buildings legislation to strengthen the country’s energy system as well as support its accession process to the EU.

The ‘build back better’ principle, when applied to buildings, is aimed at accelerating the energy transition and the decarbonisation of building stock after major disaster. According to BPIE, multiple EU member states, such as Croatia, Italy or Germany, after facing natural disasters, have based their recovery and reconstruction programmes on this principle, and designed strategies that include energy efficiency goals.

Spain’s DFI supports financial inclusion of Ecuadorian microenterprises

Cofides, the Spanish government’s development financing entity, has entered an agreement with Banco VisionFund Ecuador (BVF) for the implementation of a technical assistance project to improve the support given to Ecuadorian micro and small enterprises, particularly in rural areas.

The project is part of the Triple Inclusive Finance (TIF) Programme, the first blended finance project led by Cofides in Latin America in collaboration with the European Union and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), through the Fund for the Promotion of Development (FONPRODE).

The agreement with BVF includes a non-refundable contribution of up to €118,156, which complements an earlier Cofides loan of €5.2 million through FONPRODE also aimed at the micro and small enterprise sector in rural Ecuador.

The technical assistance project revolves around implementing a data governance strategy, using advanced tools for data analysis, to ensure a service offer that is better adapted to the needs of Ecuadorian micro-entrepreneurs.

Cofides said this would entail implementing the policies, processes, procedures and organisational and technological infrastructure necessary to ensure the quality, integrity, security and privacy of data, as well as to promote its availability and accessibility for informed decision-making.

To foster a culture of data-driven decision-making at the bank, BVF employees will also be trained in using data at the decision-making level, providing them with the necessary tools and skills required to analyse and visualise data effectively.

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