A Decade of Impact: Using Private Investment to Tackle Global Development Challenges

December 11, 2023
IFC staff celebrating the 10th anniversary of MCPP. IFC staff celebrating the 10th anniversary of MCPP. Photo: IFC.

By Hlazo Mkandawire

The numbers are sobering. Developing countries are facing a widening investment gap estimated at $4 trillion per year to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Yet the volume of private capital mobilized by multilateral development banks (MDBs) has remained fairly flat in recent years, averaging between $63 to $69 billion since 2018.

Faced with this challenge, a growing number of voices are urging MDBs to mobilize more private capital to help address the global development shortfall.

IFC has a strong track record in attracting private capital to invest alongside it in developing countries. Thanks to this track record, the World Bank Group has consistently been the largest contributor to private capital mobilization in emerging markets and developing economies. When it comes to mobilizing private capital, one IFC initiative stands out.

Since its launch 10 years ago, IFC’s Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP) has mobilized more than $16 billion from 17 institutional investors and credit insurance companies to support emerging market borrowers. 


Initially designed to meet the unique needs of institutional investors, MCPP is the only platform to date that connects borrowers in developing countries to institutional investors and global insurance companies at scale, providing vital support to private businesses across industries, and impact investing opportunities for MCPP partners.

“MCPP is really an approach to building a diversified portfolio of senior loans on behalf of institutional investors and credit insurers. The intent is for the MCPP investor’s portfolio to mimic IFC’s own future loan origination,” said Anjali Varma, Principal Syndications Officer and Head of the MCPP program.

The way it works is simple. In an upfront agreement with IFC, investors and credit insurers set project eligibility criteria, such as countries, sectors, currencies, and rates that the investor is willing to invest in, and concentration limits to ensure sufficient diversification. Thereafter, IFC offers borrowers MCPP financing in all transactions that qualify following the same terms and conditions as the IFC loan – effectively giving MCPP investors priority access to IFC’s pipeline.

“One could think of MCPP as an index fund where IFC’s future lending is the index,” Varma added.


“Co-investing with IFC has opened the door for our investors to impactful loans which they would have not been able to access otherwise and has enabled them to increase investments for climate in emerging markets,” said Deborah Zurkow, Global Head of Investments at Allianz Global Investors.


MCPP was also designed to meet the needs of IFC’s borrowers. Unlike with traditional syndications, borrowers enjoy certainty of financing at mandate stage, reduced transaction costs and closing times, and access to loans even in challenging markets and sectors.

As of September 30, 2023, MCPP has allocated approximately $11 billion across 279 projects spanning 64 countries, of which $8.5 billion has been committed into loans. An estimated 53 percent has been committed to climate finance, about 18 percent for gender finance, while 35 percent has supported projects in challenging markets.


“These programs are an efficient way for Liberty to access new banking transactions, hence bringing more diversification to our portfolio,” said Huw Owen, Global Head, Financial Risk Solutions, Liberty Specialty Markets. “By combining the capacity and financial strength of insurance companies like Liberty with the expertise and leadership of IFC, we can collectively increase access to financing in markets which are facing multiple development challenges.” 


Providing an Efficient Way for Investors to Allocate Capital in Emerging Markets

The idea of creating MCPP began after the world faced its first global financial crisis in over half a century in 2008. The recession that followed triggered a significant decline in bank lending, with new loans to large borrowers plummeting by 47 percent during the height of the crisis.

The economic downturn dealt a harsh blow to emerging markets and developing economies, leading to a decline in trade, exports, remittances, and stagnant aid and capital inflows.

With government aid budgets under increasing strain, the private sector, with its scale and vast resources, emerged as a crucial partner to bolster development lending.


“IFC’s excellence in loan origination and credit risk management in emerging markets enhances the profitable diversification of Munich Re's credit portfolio,” said Thomas Lallinger, Head of Division, Financial Risks at Munich Re. “At the same time, the IFC benefits from Munich Re’s strong and sustainable insurance capacity to mobilize more investment capital for their mission.”


In response, IFC began to look for ways to diversify funding for its borrowers. One way was to develop a product tailored to reduce the entry barriers that commonly impeded institutional investors from investing in emerging market loans, including lack of data to establish asset allocations to emerging market loans, high transaction costs to originating and monitoring loans, and insufficient diversification to reduce risk.

MCPP allows investors to analyze IFC’s more than 60 years of experience and track record of lending in emerging markets. By leveraging IFC investment teams and specialists across the globe to originate and supervise loans, the platform reduces transaction costs. MCPP also offers portfolio diversification across countries and sectors, which substantially reduces investor risk. 

To meet the unique needs of different types of investors, MCPP has developed an array of legal constructs for participating in loan portfolios, from leveraging IFC’s Trust Funds and modifying IFC’s B loans, to allowing for unfunded participation through credit insurance and risk participations. IFC has also provided first loss credit enhancement through partnerships with donors to assist investors that have constraints on investing in sub-investment grade portfolios. 


"We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to IFC on MCPP's 10-year anniversary,” said Eddie Yue, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA). “The MCPP initiatives have exemplified the collaboration between public and private sectors and the MCPP One Planet further unites our shared efforts to foster sustainable development."


The success of MCPP continues with its latest two facilities. First, MCPP One Planet, which was designed to mobilize institutional capital to support the first-ever portfolios of emerging market loans aligned with the Paris Agreement. Under One Planet, IFC provides enhanced impact and environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reporting to allow investors to demonstrate the development impact of their portfolios and meet new regulations such as the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation.

Second, the third iteration of MCPP for Financial Institutions to mobilize credit appetite from the insurance industry to boost lending for financial inclusion, small and medium enterprises, women-owned businesses, and climate finance. This iteration builds on two earlier facilities launched in 2017 and 2020 to increase IFC’s lending to financial institutions in some of the world’s poorest and most fragile countries.

MCPP’s Development Impact in Emerging Markets

Over the past decade, MCPP has provided vital support across a wide array of projects spanning various sub-sectors in infrastructure, financial institutions, manufacturing, agribusiness, and education and health across all regions where IFC has investments.

For the $8.5 billion of loans committed as of September 30, 2023, IFC has collected data, as reported in our annual client survey, that shows the impact of MCPP financing, together with IFC’s own-account financing and advisory programs:

These investments supported an average of 175,457 jobs annually since 2014, of which 74,265 were for women. In healthcare alone, IFC’s clients reported providing services to more than 2 million patients. They also connected more than 44 million customers to phone lines and reached 207,626 farmers annually. In the energy sector, over 8,248 GWh of electricity was generated to over 5 million customers each year.

Investments also benefitted local communities, with IFC clients disclosing that they spent more than $4.5 billion in purchases from domestic suppliers and contributed over $1.3 billion in payments to governments. Local communities received an average of more than $5 million to support their development.

development impact of mcpp


MCPP also stepped in to support projects that address gender disparities and boost inclusion. Since 2015, IFC clients reported providing more than 1 million in microfinance loans annually to women-owned businesses, with an average annual volume of over $1.1 billion, and 139,218 SME loans each year to women-owned businesses, with an average annual volume exceeding $4 billion.

Projects committed under MCPP are projected to achieve annual reductions of approximately 20.6 million tons of CO2 equivalent in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This is equivalent to GHG emissions from an average gasoline-powered passenger vehicle driving 53 billion miles.​

Going forward, MCPP has ambitions to expand to other types of institutional investors, such as pension funds, and to diversify its offering to add local currency financing. The platform is currently fundraising to grow its pool of investors, insurers and other participants to mobilize greater amounts of private capital.

“MCPP is never a stale product offering,” said IFC’s Varma. “We are always looking forward to how we can overcome the next set of hurdles – which could broaden the types of loans financed, bring in other types of partners, – or how to respond to the next regulations governing our investors.” 

MCPP IFC staff celebrating the 10th anniversary of MCPP. Photo: IFC.