Johannesburg, 27 June 2018 – With on-the-ground networks and the ability to swiftly adapt and innovate, the private sector is well-positioned to bring new solutions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. In addition, the SDGs present significant opportunities for the private sector to open new markets and attract investments in sustainable development by leveraging companies’ core competencies, expertise and resources.
Recognizing this, UNDP launched its Impact@Africa initiative today at the Responsible Business Forum taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa. Impact@Africa is meant to support the creation of a vibrant environment for impact investing in Africa, by helping to address the key barriers that inhibit the development and growth of the sector on the continent. UNDP recognises that the action of governments on their own is, though instrumental, not enough to promote sustainable development and equitable growth; and help reduce poverty. Development partners must make sure that all parties concerned are on board – including the private sector.
“UNDP works towards broadening and deepening its responsible engagement with the private sector to facilitate its contribution towards the attainment of the SDGs, which are in line with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 that envisions a peaceful, integrated and prosperous continent,” said Lamin Momodou Manneh, Director of UNDP's Regional Service Centre for Africa.
“As a committed development partner, we value impact investment as an innovative modality to address development and sustainability concerns. In Sub-Saharan Africa, impact investment has been moving into focus over the past few years and initial promising results are emerging. However, much more needs to be done for the sector to unleash its full potential – and for impact investment to seriously contribute to the financing gap of the SDGs in Africa,” said Judith Shoniwa, Programme Manager, Swiss Economic Cooperation and Development.
Achieving the SDGs in Africa alone will cost at least 600 billion a year. Impact investment, alongside domestic contributions and official development assistance, can cover part of the existing financing gap – but more must be done to unleash the full power of impact investment in Africa.
Its contribution to the transformational agenda of Sub-Saharan Africa is even more relevant given the on-going decline of other resources, such as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows which dipped by 21 % in 2017. For both Governments and development partners, Impact@Africa offers a concrete opportunity for collaboration on African impact investment opportunities and challenges through its all-inclusive platform. Additionally, membership, partnership and sponsorship opportunities exist for Government representatives and development partners.
Since 2013, UNDP, through its Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA), has been supporting the development of impact investment in Africa in collaboration with the African Union (AU) and with generous support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in an effort to facilitate the sector’s contribution towards the attainment of the SDGs and the AU’s Agenda 2063.
The formation of the coordinating network and the creation of the Strategic Plan has been led by a Formative Board comprised of representatives from Acumen East Africa, Africa Business Group (ABG), AMSCO, Bertha Centre UCT Graduate School of Business, SEED, Southern Africa Impact Investing Network (SAAIN), Suguba and UNDP. The current board members represent Acumen East Africa, ABG, African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), SEED and UNDP. Salma Seedat from SAIIN is the Interim CEO of the Network.
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In Addis Ababa: Nchidzi Smarts Communications Specialist