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Social Finance: Investing in the future of Latin America

February 02, 2023
Ernesto Torres Cantú , Head of International



Latin America is a region rich in possibilities, with a vibrant and entrepreneurial spirit that brews innovation, talent and economic opportunities. With a mission to enable growth and economic progress, we at Citi are committed to leveraging our century-long history in the region and our deep client relationships to help reshape existing disparities through meaningful partnerships, leading the region to its full potential.

Women-led businesses, healthcare and sanitation infrastructure, and access to learning and technology are some of the most critical and promising areas for impact and development. For this reason, we have extended the scope of our social finance investments in the 20 countries where we are present in Latin America and, in 2022 alone, Citi Latin America structured 23 transactions mobilizing more than USD 2 billion across different products and innovative solutions in the region.

These transactions span several sectors, including education, water and sanitation and financial inclusion, positively impacting the lives of more than 1.53 million people across the region, of which 700,000 are women. I am proud of the work we’ve led across the region with incredible partners:

  • In Brazil, we worked with Aegea Saneamento e Participações S.A., a leader in the private sanitation sector in the country, operating across 154 cities, by structuring an issuance of debentures in the amount of R$ 350 million, approximately USD 69 million. The use of proceeds of this transaction, made through its subsidiary Águas de Manaus S.A., is to advance its ESG agenda expanding sewage coverage to underserved communities by 32 basis points during the transaction period, benefiting the population of the city of Manaus.
  • In Central America and the Caribbean, we helped the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) issue its first ever social private placement in the Japanese market for a total amount of AUD 72 million (USD 50.4 million). The use of proceeds of this bond will support social projects in the region.
  • In Colombia, we extended the first USD 100 million bilateral Sustainability-linked Loan (SLL) to a Latin American financial institution, Bancolombia, that will help our client increase lending to sustainable projects and support women in leadership positions.
  • In Mexico, Citi provided a USD 10 million loan to Konfio – a fintech – enabling access to credit to Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) lending in the south of the country.
  • In Peru, we structured a USD 20 million loan to Innova Schools to support the construction and improvement of new schools in underserved areas. Innova’s educational model is based on an affordable and high-quality offering to support the emerging middle class in the country.

These efforts contribute to Citi’s $1 trillion global commitment to sustainable finance by 2030, to which Latin America has already contributed USD 9.5 billion. As part of Citi’s global social finance focus, we are also aiming to expand access to essential services for 15 million low-income households, including 10 million women, by 2025.

Back in November 2021, we took a major step forward with the offering of the inaugural global Citi Social Finance Bond, a $1 billion bond that supports social impact in emerging markets around the world. The use of proceeds from the bond will finance a range of projects, including those that expand access to financial services, affordable housing, basic infrastructure, healthcare and education in underserved and unbanked communities globally.

For more than two centuries, Citi has used its unparalleled global footprint and expertise to build relationships that enable economic progress around the world. Particularly in Latin America, we have been closely involved in the region since the financing of the Panama Canal, more than 115 years ago. This is a long-term commitment, and we will continue to leverage our core capabilities, expertise and talent across Citi businesses globally in mobilizing capital to enable the region’s economic development. I invite you to learn more about our global and regional impact here.

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