Myths and Realities of Blended Finance

Blended finance is the use of public aid funds to raise money from the private sector to meet international aid and development goals while providing a profit to private investors. It is increasingly promoted as a solution to the financing gap to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The Canadian government’s optimistic attitude towards this strategy is simply not supported by the data and lacks a critical analysis of its implications for affected communities around the world and the future of Canada’s Official Development Assistance. Blended finance is yet another iteration of privatization and financialization, whereby publicly funded aid programs increasingly serve the needs and goals of the private sector. This project seeks to unpack these shortcomings, providing a critical analysis of blended finance and other aid instruments used here in Canada and elsewhere to attract private sector investment. Click here for more.

Check out our series of interviews on this topic!

More interviews here!

Who we are

We are a coalition of concerned civil society organizations, unions and academics who wish to provide Canadians with a more complete picture of blended finance in Canadian ODA.

Members of the blended finance project include:

Webinar – PRIVATIZATION, GENDER AND HUMAN RIGHTS: The Impacts of Blended Finance on International Aid

Thursday May 27, 2021 11:00 AM EDT

This year’s federal budget further entrenches Canada down the dangerous path of privatizing international aid. Also known as “blended finance,” the use of public aid money to leverage private investments is proving to have disastrous consequences for global communities receiving the aid. 

In this webinar, we will examine case studies where blended finance has widened inequality, undermined the public sector or otherwise negatively affected aid recipients with a focus on women. We will talk about what this shift means in the context of COVID-19 and the climate emergency and will explore alternative public policy solutions that prioritize people over profits.


Hussainatu J. Abdullah, DAWN
Masaya Llavaneras Blanco, DAWN

Webinar – Blended finance: The privatization of international aid?

Wednesday, March 31 from 1-2:30pm (EDT)

The Canadian government has enthusiastically embraced private sector engagement as a way to meet its Sustainable Development Goals, including using public aid money to leverage private money (aka ‘blended finance’). Experiences in Europe and elsewhere suggest that blended finance is a problematic approach to financing for development. Blended finance initiatives have little to no impact on poverty, undermine the public sector and threaten to widen inequality. In the context of the climate emergency and the economic and social crises exacerbated by COVID-19, public policy solutions that prioritize people over profits are more urgent than ever.

This roundtable aims to bring together development practitioners, union members and academics to reflect on three questions:

1.     Where does the blended finance agenda come from, which global actor(s) have been promoting it and why?
2.     What has been the experience with blended finance elsewhere (e.g. Europe) and what can we learn from these experiences?
3.     What are the alternatives to blended finance?


Angella MacEwen, CUPE
María José Romero, Eurodad
Jennifer Rosario-Malonzo, IBON