In recent years, Latin America has seen the introduction of innovative pay-for-success mechanisms to fund social programmes, including Social Impact Bonds (SIBs) and Development Impact Bonds (DIBs), outcome-based contracts that incorporate the use of private financing from investors to cover the upfront capital required for a provider to set up and deliver a social service. In this context, IDB (Inter-American Development Bank) Lab established a SIB Facility in 2014 to promote the focus on outcomes in social programmes and increase outcomes-based commissioning. The SIB Facility has resulted in IDB Lab providing support to developing SIBs in Colombia (first SIB launched in a middle-income country), Argentina, Chile, Mexico and Brazil. Since then, several employment SIBs have launched in Colombia and Argentina and prefeasibility studies for SIBs on other topics are currently underway in Chile.

This Technical Note aims to capture the lessons learnt from developing SIBs in Latin America, focusing on the five countries where the SIB Facility played a pioneering role. The study takes a retrospective view in examining what has been done and a prospective view in considering how challenges can be overcome and how lessons learnt might be considered within the IDB Lab, both at SIB level and at ecosystem level looking at the SIB ecosystems that have started to emerge.