Sygnus launches US$135M CARICOM Resilience Fund in Jamaica Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Sygnus, the appointed fund manager of the US$135 million Caribbean Community Resilience Fund (CCRF), marked another significant milestone with the Jamaican segment of its launch event recently at the AC Hotel.

The CCRF is a 10-year impact investment fund with an option for two one-year extensions. It aims to deploy capital into critical sectors including renewable energy, blue economy, sustainable housing, ICT, transport, financial services, and climate-smart agriculture. The fund features two portfolios: equity and debt (EBT). The CCRF aims to attract investors by offering compelling risk-adjusted returns coupled with downside protection, alongside the opportunity to contribute to a more sustainable Caribbean future. With a robust origination platform and a strong coalition of strategic partners, including Sygnus, the fund is poised to deliver tangible impact while providing investors with a track record of success.

This Jamaican launch follows the fund’s initial announcement in Barbados earlier this year.  Sygnus, a leading alternative investments firm, aims to leverage its expertise to accelerate economic growth and climate adaptability across the Caribbean.

Speaking at the launch event, Jason Morris, EVP, Co-Founder, and Chief Investment Officer, emphasised the transformative potential of the CCRF, stating, “Today marks a pivotal moment for the Caribbean as we unveil the CCRF in Jamaica, building upon our earlier strides in Barbados. This fund is designed to deploy capital in businesses and projects that are focused on economic resilience and climate sustainability. With a robust pipeline of $250 million, our blended finance structure will catalyse private capital to support the execution and scaling of opportunities in critical sectors across the region.”

Designed to address the pressing challenges posed by economic shocks and climate change, the CCRF represents a collaborative effort by the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF), Sygnus, USAID, Cross Boundary, and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) Island Energy Program. With an initial capital injection of US$20 million, comprising contributions from CDF and Sygnus, the fund underscores a collective commitment to fortifying Caribbean economies against future adversities.

The event featured presentations from members of the executive team and Dr Nigel Clarke, Minister of Finance and Public Service, who highlighted the pivotal role the fund plays in bolstering economic sustainability and climate resilience across the Caribbean region.

Dr Clarke, in his keynote address, underscored the significance of such initiatives in bolstering the region’s economic resilience, stating, “Resilience is a topic of critical importance in the Caribbean island states. The structural economic realities of Caribbean life, even if there is some stock of wealth as measured by investor capital, and flow measured by annual GDP, can all vanish with one or two economic shocks. Therefore, economic resilience has to be the key economic priority for Caribbean countries. The emergence of a fund like this is timely and exciting because it comes at a time when Jamaica and the Caribbean are all facing a potential crisis. We are all facing a potential crisis where the solution to a large extent is going to lie in having a larger and larger pool of capital available to invest in our economies. A fund like the CCRF – and its targeted areas such as energy, renewable energy, and energy transportation, are areas that are critically in need of private investment.”

Along with Jamaica and Barbados, other Caribbean countries to benefit from the fund include Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, St Lucia, Belize, Guyana, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

Speaking during the launch event was Lavern McFarlane, Senior Economist, CARICOM Development Fund, who shared, “Countries lying on the frontline in the war on climate change are grossly unprepared to sustainably address climate matters. The frontline is where sea levels will rise the most, and where temperatures will also rise to most uncomfortable levels. The combination of these two will lead to more devastating climate effects including harsher droughts and increasing categories of hurricane in the Caribbean. The only path for those on the frontline is to urge those countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to press for mechanisms to finance climate related loss and damage and the only thing that we can control is building resilience. Building resilience will take a lot of money. What is important is that we are able to build in a way that we are building comprehensively. We don’t just need resilient buildings, we need resilient livelihoods, supply chains, health care systems, bodies and minds. Resilience therefore needs to connect everything from the seabed to the skyline.” Noting her confidence in Sygnus, McFarlene continued, “We have all confidence in Sygnus to deliver on the objectives on the fund.”

As the Caribbean navigates the complexities of economic uncertainty and climate variability, the CCRF stands as a beacon of hope, offering a pathway towards a more resilient and prosperous future for the region.

“At Sygnus, we envision a Caribbean region that thrives on innovation and sustainable growth. The Caribbean Resilience Fund represents a significant step towards realising this vision, by providing a platform for strategic investment and collective action. The fund is a preeminent vehicle that will mobilise international capital to complement regional capital for deployment into a dedicated impact strategy. We are excited by the potential of the CCRF to drive positive change across the Caribbean. By combining the expertise of Sygnus, the CDF, USAID, RMI and Cross Boundary we can unlock significant opportunities for sustainable development and economic resilience throughout the region,” shared Berisford Grey, CEO and President of Sygnus.

The Caribbean Community Resilience Fund is to be registered with the appropriate regulatory authorities for Jamaican investors.