Letter from the MB of the Fund Manager
This was the second consecutive year in which FMO was faced with the effects of an ongoing pandemic. Challenges and change but also resilience in how we deal with new realities have characterized 2021. For most of the year, we were unable to travel to our markets and carry out business as usual. Still we have supported our customers during the pandemic and at the same time stepped up our efforts in completing the Financial Economic Crime enhancement project, including an extensive Know Your Customer file remediation effort, tailored to the specific requirements of developing and emerging economies.
During these challenging times, the public funds managed to realize or come very close to their targets and therefore continued to play a key, countercyclical role in 2021. Not only did our finance solutions support our clients in facing the pandemic, it also contributed to much-needed new investments, improving the long-term resilience of our customers.
In 2022, that resilience will be further tested as the ongoing war in Ukraine and associated sanctions will have a severe impact on all markets in the global economy.
Our long-standing track record in managing public funds to catalyze private finance, has also contributed to a significant expansion of our responsibilities. Over the past years, FMO set up facilities and investment programs with the European Commission and the Green Climate fund. In 2021, the UK government also decided to trust FMO with the management of the UKs Mobilizing Finance for Forestry fund.
Infrastructure development in agriculture and in rural areas, enhancing productivity and improving logistics generates jobs and increases income. With a growing world population and increasing disruption from extreme weather events, it is critical to increase agricultural capacity without exacerbating the effects on climate. This is the challenge that the Dutch government’s Building Prospects Fund aims to target. The Fund supports the acceleration of private sector development by investing in value chains, renewable energy, and forestry projects. Building Prospects invested in eight clients for a total amount of EUR 40.1 million.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is largest for the world’s poorest, causing rising poverty rates and increasing inequality. The World Bank Group estimates that globally, three to four years of progress toward ending poverty have been lost and almost 100mln more people are living on less than USD 1.90 a day. Vulnerable groups – women, those with low education and informally employed - lost income at higher rates. Building Prospects funding to drive job creation in the wider agri-value chain remains an important focus point of the fund. Infrastructure and innovation can help less agriculturally developed regions and the world to retain access to jobs, food and products and stimulate economic growth.
There are eight years left in this decisive decade and to help reach the SDGs. Growing inequality continues to affect our markets and we all know the extent of the urgency to take climate action. The world calls for transformative impact to tackle these two challenges. Courage and ambition are therefore imperative in the deployment of the Dutch government funds. We will continue to generate investments that create equal opportunities and equitable access to finance, that protect the value of ecosystems and forests, that provide access to renewable energy and that help build up fair value chains in agriculture.
The Hague, 28 April 2022
On behalf of the Management Board
Michael Jongeneel, Chief Executive Officer
Fatoumata Bouaré, Chief Risk and Finance Officer
Huib-Jan de Ruijter, Chief Investment Officer