With the population in cities worldwide growing by 1.5 million each week, about 68% of the world’s population shall live in cities by 2050. 90% of this urban growth will occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. This rapid urbanisation and infrastructure growth is fuelling an annual infrastructure financing gap of US$3.2 Trillion per year globally. Thus, there is a need to engage a diverse range of actors to attract substantial private capital to public infrastructure projects. On the other hand, too few sustainable infrastructure projects being developed are “bankable”, i.e., projects sufficiently aligned with investors’ financial and impact requirements.
The Cities Investment Facility (CIF) is a multi-stakeholder initiative that strives to unlock significant capital flows to inclusive, sustainable urbanisation projects. Through the three pillars – Cities Investment Portal, Cities Investment Advisory Platform and Cities Investment Vehicles – CIF helps prepare upstream infrastructure projects at the (pre)feasibility stage to become “bankable” and connect them with investors. By convening and preparing a pipeline of SDG compliant bankable infrastructure projects, this new facility makes a significant contribution to achieving the UN’s Agenda 2030.
The Cities Investment Portal (CIP) the first rung of the Cities Investment Facility. The CI Portal is an online platform that connects city development projects with investors seeking to finance projects that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable.
The portal opens up opportunities for investors and city projects to connect, communicate, and create sustainable cities of the future.
The CIP seeks to facilitate the matchmaking between projects and investors by offering users access to an interactive database of bankable city and country-level projects, along with potential investors with clear areas of interest, types of investment, and credentials that align with sustainability and inclusion principles.
Cities can initiate networking and outreach on planned projects by uploading their package of information, which will be accessible to a global audience of investors that will be linked with the city-based project promoters. The portal will thus bring together a community of interested parties at the ideation stage.
Project pages will be continually updated on the portal as more detailed information becomes available. To ensure quality and feasibility of information, the portal’s management team will include experts that will review incoming materials.
The Cities Investment Advisory Platform (CIAP) is the second rung of the Cities Investment Facility and aims to bridge the gap between sustainable infrastructure projects and investor requirements. The CIAP implementation partners shall support upstream projects to align better with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and become bankable. In the CIAP, project promoters will receive advice and guidance on project preparation, development, and financial de-risking.
UN-Habitat shall provide SDG impact assessment and project preparation, while UN-Habitat’s CIAP Partner will be responsible for project bankability advisory, project preparation, and engaging projects and early-stage investors.
The Cities Investment Vehicles comprise the third rung of the Cities Investment Facility. The CI Vehicles are brokers or funds within which diverse sources of finance: retail and institutional investors, Development Finance Institutions, philanthropic organisations, Islamic funds, and governments, can pool resources to finance de-risked, SDG-aligned assets. CI Vehicles aim to arrange sustainable urbanization projects into financial products, through project aggregation and blended financing. CI Vehicles shall also funnel capital from a diverse range of sources of (commercial and institutional investors, Development Finance Institutions, philanthropic organisations, Islamic funds, and governments) to CIF’s pipeline of de-risked, SDG-aligned projects.