Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

Moving the impact frontier in frontier markets: co-creating a pipeline in developing countries

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The world poorest countries and climate-vulnerable small island development states are among those most at risk of being left behind after-COVID. While public resources remain essential, they alone will not be sufficient to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Typically, these countries have more prevalent and severe barriers to accessing private capital that are rooted in political risks, such as related to governance and regulatory frameworks and market risks, such as operational and contract risks, small deal size, untested business models, and information and data gaps.

The Joint SDG Fund launched its 1st Call on SDG Financing on December 2019, for an envelope of US$100 million. We will unwrap this work as it aims to create a supporting enabling environment for investing in the SDGs and support catalytic investments-where/when it cannot happen otherwise. On the latter the Fund committed to support with prep-funding of ca US$4 million for up to 20 future transactions that aspire to mobilize financing at scale for the SDGs. This panel will offer different perspectives on what frontier markets are thinking on sustainable finance and propose ways for the SOCAP community to collaborate with the UN in co-developing an ambitious pipeline.


  1. Present what developing countries “are asking” the impact investing community based on an extensive consultation process in +110 dev.
  2. Announce prep-funding support to the selected proposals (up to 20) and the Fund’s plan to create closed-door advisory groups to help them move from “concept to transaction”
  3. Discuss with panelists how the SOCAP constituency can collaborate with the UN to reach frontier markets that need them the most.

Confirmed Panelists

United Nations (UN Joint SDG Fund)

Lisa Kurbiel (moderator) – As Head of the Joint SDG Fund, Lisa Kurbiel promotes partnerships with Governments, UN entities, civil society, academia, the private sector and family offices to design and implement integrated policy approaches and innovative financing vehicles to accelerate progress towards the SDGs.  She previously served as UNICEF Chief of Advocacy and Partnerships in Kenya, where she led private sector engagement, including positioning UNICEF among critical fintech leaders in mobile money toward the launch of an on-line social bond for educational programmes.  In Somalia, she led UNICEF’s Social Policy team during a two-year drought emergency and in Mozambique, positioned the UN for strengthened engagement with the IFIs and channeled revenues from the extractive industries toward social subsidies.  Lisa has advised Governments regarding their long-term legislative, policy and development strategies, developed and implemented policy initiatives to combat sexual abuse and exploitation, human trafficking and child labor in armed conflicts within the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations.  Lisa is a member of the New York State Bar and a graduate of St. John’s University School of Law.

Massimiliano Riva. Max is responsible for contributing to the United Nations work on sustainable and innovative finance and is the Investment Advisor to the UN Joint SDG Fund. He is tasked to set up new approaches and schemes that can result in better and higher financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to manage one of the largest UN grant facilities in support of SDG financing in developing countries. Max is a sustainable finance advisor by background with +15 years of experience in the public and private sector. He accumulated expertise in areas such as investment guarantees, inclusive finance, export credit, impact investing, green/SDG bonds and sector resource mobilization strategies. In his career he facilitated a wide range of partnerships on sustainable trade and finance, providing advisory services on the ground to more than 30 countries-across all continents. He co-authored several publications on the same.

Convergence Blended Finance

Joan Larrea. Joan M. Larrea is an expert in catalyzing investment in places that need it most and brings with her over 20 years of experience in emerging markets investing. Joan serves on HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Council, the Global Environment Facility Advisory Group for Non-Grant Instruments, the Impact Canada Initiative Advisory Committee for the Government of Canada’s Privy Council, and the Advisory Council for FinDev Canada. Prior to joining Convergence, she led the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s (OPIC) efforts to partner with philanthropic and private investors to increase capital flows to OPIC’s target markets. While at OPIC, she also directed a pilot program to finance smaller, high impact, and innovative funds, many of which drew on blended finance structures. Before OPIC, Joan served as a managing director on the emerging markets team at Global Environment Fund, an asset manager dedicated to the energy, environmental, and natural resource sectors. She began her career as an investment officer at International Finance Corporation, where she concluded pioneering transactions in a variety of infrastructure and manufacturing sectors across Asia.

Unconfirmed Panelists

  • Representative from Rockefeller Foundation (partner of the UN Joint SDG Fund)
  • Representatives of the organizations that were awarded with prep-funding (to be announced in July 2020), e.g. Bamboo Capital, Mirova, etc.

Supporting Materials

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  1. Greetings from Venezuela. I think is a great idea to have this session, specially to improve our concept notes. From Venezuela we are on board

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