The Renewable Energy Innovation Fund (REIF) is a programme, funded by the United Nations Joint Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Fund, which aims to promote Uruguay's second energy transition as a driver for the country's economic and social development.
Through an innovative blended finance instrument, which combines funds from United Nations and commercial banks, the REIF catalyzes private sector investment for sustainable and innovative energy solutions through flexible and tailored credits to the productive sector. Additionally, a technical assistance facility will be implemented, together with the financial instrument, to boost access and impact of its investments.
After structuring the REIF trust fund and defining the investment policy and impact strategy, a cooperation agreement has been signed with four major banks in Uruguay, namely BBVA, Heritage, Santander and Itau. CEOs from these banks have expressed their enthusiasm about working alongside UNIDO and the REIF to transition towards sustainable finance for the economy's decarbonization.
BBVA CEO Alberto Charro stated that BBVA is committed to accompanying its customers, both small and large companies, on the path towards a sustainable future. Charro expressed his pleasure in being "the first Uruguayan bank to sign the agreement with REIF (...) to promote the second energy transition in Uruguay so that this great country continues to lead this transformation at a global level.”
Santander's Commercial Director, Pablo Gaudio, stated that "the agreement is aligned with the objectives of decarbonization and energy transition in Uruguay and it is another step for Santander in Uruguay to accompany our customers in the transition to a more sustainable economy."
Agustin Tafernaberry, Director of Wholesale Banking and Treasury at Itau, reaffirmed the bank's commitment to sustainable development, and stated that “joint work is key to drive innovation in technology, the transformation of the industry and ensure affordable access to renewable energies."
Pablo Muró, Manager of Corporate Banking at Banque Heritage, mentioned that “it is a joy to sign this cooperation agreement where different actors join forces and generate synergies to provide more and better financing to ensure access to renewable energy and stimulate innovation and environmental sustainability in our country."
Manuel Albaladejo, UNIDO Representative and project manager, participated in all signing ceremonies and emphasized that the REIF is the United Nation's flagship programme in Uruguay. He stated that "REIF is an unprecedented programme for it brings UNIDO close to the needs, interests and opportunities offered by the big financiers. This opens the door for other players, like development banks, to capitalize REIF and turn it into a massive fund of funds."
The cooperation of United Nations with private banks to catalyze impact financing is a fundamental aspect of this innovative project in the field of sustainable finance. The UNIDO Regional Office in Uruguay leads the programme, seconded by UNDP, UN Women and the UN Resident Coordinator. The main stakeholders from the Government of Uruguay include the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, the Ministry of Environment, the Office of Planning and Budget and the state energy company, UTE.
Originally published at UNIDO