Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets


Organizational profile:

The Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) is the development finance institution of the Swiss Confederation. SIFEM promotes long-term, sustainable and broad-based economic growth in developing and emerging countries by providing financial support to commercially viable small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) as well as fast-growing enterprises which in turn helps to create secure and permanent jobs and reduce poverty. SIFEM is a private limited company, the shares of which are 100% owned by the federal government.  

SIFEM invests in local, regional or global funds. These funds in turn select local small- and medium-sized and fast-growing companies and encourage their growth with financial support and experienced advice. SIFEM makes use of this indirect investment model, as do most other development finance institutions. SIFEM will occasionally make direct investments in financial institutions. SIFEM invests primarily in sectors that are particularly important for the economic development of partner countries. This includes sectors such as the manufacturing industry, transport, storage, communication, wholesale and retail trade, production of renewable energies, health and education. SIFEM is an impact investor, as all investments are made with the intent to generate a measurable development impact, based on specific indicators and corresponding targets in developing and emerging countries, including job creation, skills development, tax payments, financial sector deepening and diversification, and implementation of international best practice environmental, social and governance standards. 

Financing Instrument: Equity, Loans

Project scale: As of 31 December 2022, SIFEM had invested USD 1286 million since inception and had active commitments of USD 914 million. Forestry-related investments range from USD 7 million to 10 million. 

Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global (Emerging Markets), Africa, India

Recipient categories: Funds and financial institutions, SMEs 

Eligibility Criteria: 

The Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) invests via local and regional private debt and equity funds in small, medium and fast-growing companies in developing and emerging countries. To a lesser extent, it finances SME-banks and microfinance institutions.   

SIFEM invests in developing and emerging countries, i.e countries whose GNI per capita is below a set threshold (USD 7,065 per capita in 2021) as defined by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The partner countries of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) are given a priority status. At least 60% of SIFEM's investment volume in any year must be allocated to these priority countries. In the case of regional or global funds, the geographical criteria are fulfilled if at least 50% of the fund or financial institution investment is made in the priority countries. 

Application guidelines: 

Please send your enquiry to Every investment proposal will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. The duration of the selection process and appraisal until the final decision on a possible investment is taken will vary from case to case. 

Last updated: 31 August 2023

Publication Date
Thursday, 01 April 2021
Applicable location
Private sector and industry
Sustainable land use
Renewable energy
Financing opportunities