Sarona showcased in Ethiopia for its achievements in Blended Finance

Sarona Asset Management was recently showcased for its successful Blended Finance approach at the United Nation’s conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa, where countries reached a historic agreement to finance a new sustainable development agenda. During the event, the Canadian Government, the World Economic Forum, Dalberg and the Global Development Incubator recognised Sarona’s thought leadership as they launched Convergence, a platform that allows private and public funders to blend their capital, creating more financially attractive, high-quality investment opportunities.

With over 800 registered participants, the International Business Forum held in conjunction with the Third International Conference on Financing for Development was celebrated as the largest ever global gathering of high-level business leaders in the development context.

Sarona, a private asset management firm focused on frontier and emerging markets, has a long history of investing in small to mid-market growing companies and applying progressive values to promote job creation and develop communities. The two Managing Partners, Gerhard Pries and Vivina Berla, were invited by the Canadian government and the World Economic Forum as private sector representatives to share Sarona’s experience in the Blended Finance space.

“We are witnessing a historic shift in international development and business cooperation” commented Gerhard Pries “and we are finally moving away from traditional forms of aid and towards ground-breaking models of public-private investment that deliver sustainable, scalable development solutions”.

In particular, Blended Finance, inspired by the World Economic Forum and OECD initiative on Redesigning Development Finance, gained significant traction as a promising path towards the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. As a result of a series of successful policy negotiations, Blended Finance was spotlighted repeatedly in the final outcome document.

The Canadian government has shown visionary leadership in promoting Blended Finance by deploying catalytic capital to encourage more private investments in frontier and emerging markets. Sarona Asset Management has successfully raised a $150mm fund on the strength of a $15mm contribution from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. This contribution of a funded, first-loss guarantee allowed Sarona to offer a higher risk-adjusted-return to its investors than would otherwise be available.

During the conference, Canada and the World Economic Forum introduced Convergence, an online marketplace that brings together public and private investors for blended finance investments in frontier and emerging markets.  Canada’s Minister of International Development, the Honourable Christian Paradis, highlighted Sarona for its successful investment strategy, and noted that its next fund would be one of the first products available on the new Convergence platform.

Vivina Berla added “It is exciting to be part of this new conversation between such different players. Governments, civil society and business have not always believed that common solutions were possible. Now it is really happening and Sarona is proud of playing a leadership role in delivering scalable solutions”.

She concludes “Following the successful launch and investment of our last fund supported by the Canadian and the US government, we now look forward to the next fund for which we have even greater hopes!”


Picture: List of SDIP and Convergence partners (left to right):
Front row: Johannes Kiess, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Haje Schütte, OECD; Nanno Kleiterp, FMO; Eric Postel, USAID; Richard Samans, World Economic Forum; Charlotte Petri-Gornitzka, Sida; Donald Kaberuka, African Development Bank; Sarah McPhee, Storebrand; Amadou Hott, FONSIS; Mohan Vivekanandan, DBSA
Middle row: Minister Christian Paradis, Canada (hidden); Minister Abdoul Aziz Tall, Senegal; Minister Per Boland, Sweden; Caroline Anstey, UBS and Society; Jay Collins, Citi; Gerhard Pries, Sarona;
Back row: David Creighton, EMPEA; Katherine Steger, Standard Chartered; Brain Herlihy, Black Rhino Group; Gavin Wilson, IFC Asset Management; Serena Guarnaschelli, Dalberg; Walt Macnee, MasterCard