The "Impact Investment Challenge: Contribute for Agenda 2030" competition
6 student groups defended their project in front of a jury composed of professors and practitioners who are experts in sustainable and impact finance. In the shoes of impact investors, they had to imagine a profitable, viable investment project contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the UN. All along this 4-week project, groups had mentoring sessions with Prof. Christophe Revelli, as well as group work sessions and exchanges with professionals of the industry. The jury has deliberated on May 21st and all 6 projects were assessed on :
• their degree of innovation
• the capacity of the project to identify the impacts to be measured during the investment period
• the ability to put in place relevant, transparent and demanding monitoring indicators
• the implementation and feasibility criteria
The winning project in focus
The jury has selected Alejandra Amarillo Icardo, Ashnika Goyal, Chin Yuan Chong and Wendy Fernandez’s project as the winner of this challenge with their proposition “Light Up Africa - Sustainable Letter of Credit for the Last Mile Access”.
Introducing Sustainable Letter of Credit- a financing instrument to leverage private investments, linked to a high-risk innovation fund for financing solar mini-grids. The fund and project Light Up Africa, addresses the issue of last mile access to electricity, mainly in access deficit- low creditworthiness countries, like those in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The project aiming at supplying some areas of Africa and Asia with electricity through mini-grids provides a sustainable long-term development impact by reducing carbon emissions, pollution, environmental degradation and creating new jobs and business opportunities. This alternative offers a least-cost option for delivering power to isolated rural communities who lack energy access.
The sustainable letter of credit is the alternative Financial Vehicle proposed by the group with a development bank acting as a guarantor on behalf of the “Light Up Africa” Fund. The students came up with a green loan system including both financial, non-financial and energy flows and many benefits for the stakeholders. A complete financial structure was also presented, as well as a financial analysis proving feasibility and detailing implementation of the project.
This project is part of the learning-by-doing, innovative pedagogy of the Sustainable Finance MSc, a leading programme pioneer in its field.
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