Innovations in Technology and Finance will Help Fund the SDGs


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Alem Tedeneke, Media Lead SDGs, Public Engagement, Tel.: +1 646 204 9191, Email: ated@weforum.org

· Technology can provide transparency to attract capital and reduce corruption

· New financing mechanisms are enabling more development funding

· Developing countries must advance further on tax collection, governance and a stable investment climate

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· More information at www.wef.ch/SDI18 and follow the conversation at #wefimpact

New York, 25 September 2018 – New technologies and financing mechanisms can help close funding gaps and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), leaders from government and finance agreed at the World Economic Forum’s Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2018 in New York.

Developing countries may need as much as 14% of their GDPs in fiscal space to achieve the SDGs. “It is a massive number for these countries, but not for global GDP,” Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), said.

To close that funding gap, Bill McGlashan, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Rise Fund; Founder and Managing Partner, TPG Growth, urged using technology and the efforts of private entrepreneurs to create the transparency and measurability that will attract private capital. One example is a recent blockchain-based project in Africa to directly connect development aid with small farmers and small farmers with global markets. “The innovation engine of capitalism, when it also brings a moral lens to bear, can be completely transformative,” McGlashan said.

Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, Bharti Enterprises and a summit Co-Chair, said: “Technology holds the key. It can mitigate the absence of capital.” He noted how mobile phones can fill many gaps in education and healthcare where access to physical schools and clinics may be limited. “When we put a phone in the hand of the poorest of the poor and connect them, we start to see the magic of technology and innovation come through,” he added.

Developing countries must further improve governance, tax collection, and transparency, George Yaw Gyan-Baffour, Minister for Planning, Republic of Ghana, said. He cited Ghana’s efforts to broaden the tax base, reform procurement processes, increase prosecution of corruption and use technology to reduce human intervention where corruption is a risk. Gyan-Baffour also noted the need to provide long-term stability for investors. “There has to be a process to ensure that, in parliament, both sides of the aisle support a project to reduce risks from a change of government,” he said.

One of many successful innovations in development finance is to bring together different members of the financial ecosystem – such as development banks, commercial banks, private equity firms and family offices – with different expectations for risk, reward and timeframe, to support a single development project.

“When we partner with others, we reduce risks,” said Anne Finucane, Chairman of the Board, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Europe; Vice-Chairman, Bank of America. Finucane also noted the importance of technology for such collaboration. “The transparency from technology, the ability to go straight to the customer and have it on record, makes a big difference,” she said.

The World Economic Forum, the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation, hosts its second Sustainable Development Impact Summit in New York on 24-25 September to drive solutions for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Paris Agreement on climate change.

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