15% of global agenda for achieving SDGs is on track for fulfilment by 2030: Mohieldin

Daily News Egypt
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Mahmoud Mohieldin, Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund and U.N. Special Envoy on Financing the 2030 Sustainable Development, is engaging in the inaugural edition’s discussions, highlighting the complex issues at hand.

He presented the stark realities with statistics: only 15% of the global agenda for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is on track for fulfilment by 2030, while a significant 55% is severely off track. Moreover, 35% shows progress that is worse than in 2015.

Mohieldin pointed out that current growth rates are insufficient for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. He stressed the need to significantly increase growth rates by investing strategically in human capital, technology, infrastructure, and sustainability. He noted that the financing gap to meet these goals is between $4-6trn annually.

He emphasised that closing this gap is a collective responsibility, requiring collaboration at all levels, starting with localising development nationally.

Mohieldin highlighted the importance of green initiatives in tackling climate change, advocating for a comprehensive approach that considers the interdependencies of various factors and industries. He underscored the need for financing, trade facilitation, and private sector stimulation, noting that without international cooperation, mitigating the effects of climate change would be unattainable.

He also discussed the sustainable development agenda’s goal of food security, mentioning that 78% of Africans lack adequate diets. He underscored Africa’s potential to lead in sectors like electric vehicles, pharmaceuticals, and green hydrogen, stressing the need to leverage raw materials and increase production, especially in solar and wind energy.

These insights were shared during the United Nations Global Compact’s annual forum’s inaugural session, themed “Towards Sustainable Africa,” hosted by the Egyptian Network of the UNGCNE. The forum seeks to encourage collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders, creating an environment for companies to actively and responsibly engage in sustainability efforts. This is in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030 and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, aiming for a joint commitment to sustainability in the region.

The European Union (EU) Ambassador to Egypt, Christian Berger, spotlighted the EU’s new strategy for partnering with low-income countries to foster sustainable investment. He indicated that several agreements will be signed to support this goal.

Berger commented on the significant economic challenges faced globally, with 2022 being notably difficult. He called for solidarity among stakeholders to address these issues, highlighting the complexities of global finance and the hurdles faced by investors.

Berger mentioned that sustainable investment and strengthening the private sector are central to the EU’s relationship with Egypt. He noted the signing of an agreement this year to improve business operations significantly.

Berger acknowledged the over 40-year relationship between the EU and Egypt, with European companies showing strong investment interest in Egypt, accounting for more than 32% of foreign investments.

Berger detailed the EU’s work with the Egyptian government, the Central Bank, and local banks to shift the financial system toward green financing. He also previewed an investment conference in June, co-organized with the EU, expecting participation from over 300 European companies.

He stated: “We are working with the Central Bank of Egypt and Egyptian government banks to change the financial system and transition towards green financing.” Berger also mentioned an upcoming investment conference slated for June, organized in partnership with the European Union, where over 300 European companies are anticipated to participate.”

15% of global agenda for achieving SDGs is on track for fulfilment by 2030: Mohieldin
Elena Panova

Meanwhile, Elena Panova, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Egypt, underscored the critical need to enhance cooperation among various stakeholders and to significantly alter strategies to realize SDGs

She stated: “According to United Nations reports, only 15% of the sustainable development goals are progressing towards attainment, with Egypt particularly impacted by regional tensions and exacerbated economic and climate challenges.”

Panova highlighted the urgency of focusing efforts on advancing sustainable development goals in six essential areas: strengthening food systems, broadening energy access, and reducing the effects of climate change. She pointed out the significance of improving job opportunities, education, and digital connectivity, noting that while these are longstanding United Nations priorities, the emphasis must now be on channelling investments for concrete results.

Panova insisted that sustainable development in Egypt and Africa requires active participation from the private sector and the creation of innovative solutions, depending on cooperative partnerships across sectors to overcome challenges and build a more sustainable future for both regions.

Rania Al-Mashat
Rania Al-Mashat

Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, emphasized the Ministry’s partnership with various development partners to support the private sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and burgeoning businesses and entrepreneurs.

She stressed the importance of providing concessional development financing, direct investments, and technical advice and consultations to enable sustainable financing.

Al-Mashat pointed out that achieving sustainable financing demands unity among all stakeholders and global collaboration to tackle the issues facing the world economy.

She highlighted the Ministry’s role in offering soft financing and technical support to a broad spectrum of private sector firms, startups, and entrepreneurs in Egypt, in cooperation with development partners like the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the French Development Agency, the African Development Bank, and the Islamic Development Bank.

She revealed that in the past four years, these multilateral and bilateral development partners have collectively provided around $10.3bn in soft development financing and investments to Egyptian private sector companies.

The Minister of International Cooperation pointed out that the Ministry’s current portfolio includes 36 projects in innovation, digitization, and entrepreneurship across different sectors, with a total value of about $1bn.

She underlined that the Ministry is diligently working on the implementation of 11 sustainable development goals. She mentioned the existence of various mechanisms through partnerships to aid emerging companies, entrepreneurship, and the private sector in Egypt, including direct investments, soft financing, guarantees, technical advice, and lines of credit to commercial banks.

Al-Mashat noted that development partners significantly contribute to enhancing the entrepreneurship ecosystem by addressing the funding gap in the startup sector. She underscored that over 42% of venture capital fund financing for startups in Egypt comes from development partners, including organizations like the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, and the Egyptian American Enterprise Fund.

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