Country Director Speech: Ministry of Investment & International Cooperation and World Bank Workshop: Advancing SDG Implementation in Egypt: Creating a Policy Vision to Facilitate Finance

Sep 24, 2017

The workshop's panel at the opening session. Photo by MIIC

Statement of Randa Aboul-Hosn, UNDP Country Director

Excellency, Dr. Sahar Nasr, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation

Mr. Arvind Mungar, Head of programmes at the British Embassy

Mr. Jos Verbeek, Special Representative to the WTO and UN, Geneva, the World Bank

Mr. Robert Beschel, Global Lead, Center of Government, the World Bank

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here for this important discussion about financing the SDGs.  As you know, The SDGs represent an unprecedented global consensus to align our efforts for the next 13 years on a comprehensive and ambitious development agenda for people and the planet. This level of ambition now needs to be matched with the necessary resources, innovation capacity and partnerships to drive implementation.

The SDGs commit to a new social compact, underpinned by social protection and essential public services, and to increased public investment for research, infrastructure, and pro-poor initiatives. They acknowledge that the poorest and/or most vulnerable require the greatest support. The SDGs underline that no one should be left behind.

Therefore, a big, bold and transformative financing agenda is needed to help meet the challenges of their implementation. The outcome from Addis Ababa Conference reaffirmed targets for Official Development Assistance (ODA). It even went beyond ODA to emphasize the need to build the capacities for domestic resource mobilization and different sources of finance that complement and reinforce each other.  This will require that multi-stakeholder partnerships be built, across governments, the private sector, civil society, and academic and research institutions.

UNDP has repeatedly stressed that all sources of finance – domestic and international, public and private – are needed to achieve the SDGs. UNDP has also noted that one source of finance does not substitute for another.

UNDP Egypt is committed to supporting the Government of Egypt in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy and is committed to supporting the inclusion of youth, women, persons with disabilities, the private sector, international development partners as well as the government in this implementation process.

We believe Egypt is on a path to be a trendsetter for new forms of financing for the implementation of the SDGs in the region.  In May 2017, Dr. Sahar Nasr was invited to be a member of the High Level Advisory Board of the UN Social Impact Fund, which advocates for impact investment.

Why Impact Investment? Because it is a vehicle for the engagement and ownership of the private sector in the implementation process of the SDGs. It represents Investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return. Impact investments and related financing mechanisms can directly or indirectly contribute to all of the SDGs, especially that the SDGs are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development: the economic, social and environmental. In the same spirit, all sectors of government, society and the private sector must work in a coordinated manner to mainstream and accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.

Funds for ‘impact investing’ – investments with explicit social and environmental objectives as well as economic returns – are in the order of $75 billion to $100 billion. Assets under management by signatories of the Principles for Responsible Investment are at around $35 trillion. Financing gaps in the Arab World for the achievement of the SDGs stands at USD 85 billion annually[1].

Impact investment has also attracted a wide variety of investors, both individual and institutional, including Fund Managers, Development finance institutions, Diversified financial institutions/banks, Private foundations, Pension funds and insurance companies, Family Offices, Individual investors, and NGOs.

As part of the momentum created by the economic reform agenda and the new investment law, the Minister of Investment and International cooperation, Dr. Sahar Nasr, launched  “Fekretak Sherketak” earlier this month as part of the Egypt Entrepreneurship program (EEP) which targets entrepreneurs across Egypt.  The EEP is comprised of four essential pillars: Funding, accelerators, startup services platform and new legislative and regulatory reforms. Together, these four pillars provide the necessary foundation for Egyptians to start their own business leading to both new job opportunities and economic growth.

UNDP is particularly engaged in the operationalisation of the accelerator. UNDP believes that youth, women and persons with disabilities are a huge opportunity for economic growth, and their potential can only be realized through their social and economic empowerment. The accelerator will not only support outreach activities, but will also provide the necessary technical and financial assistance and national and international exposure to teams that have innovative, impactful and financially viable ideas.

UNDP Egypt understands the financing gap in the implementation of the SDGs. Impact investment is one of the tools of SDG-aligned financing that can bring together small as well as large, novice and amateur as well as savvy investors that want to create impact, with investees.

UNDP Egypt’s cooperation with MoIIC is the first of its kind in the region, thus, positioning Egypt strategically as a visionary and technical leader in the area of impact investment.

All eyes will be on Egypt’s progress in the coming period.

Thank you.

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