UNDP and African Development Bank Explore SDG Investments in Africa’s Blue and Green Economies

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Photo by UNDP

UNDP and African Development Bank Explore SDG Investments in Africa’s Blue and Green Economies

The recently concluded Eighth Tokyo International Conference of African Development (TICAD 8) Summit culminated in the announcement of "Japan’s Green Growth Initiative with Africa", which aims to invest USD 4 billion into African green economy projects across the continent to improve the quality of people’s lives, as well as an “Investment Fund for Startups” of approx. USD 70 million to support entrepreneurship of energetic young people.

Against the backdrop of these significant private sector partnerships, UNDP in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB), organized the Africa Continental Investor Convening as a side event of TICAD 8. Held on 6 September 2022, the virtual event brought together the private and public sector, attracting some 300 participants, to discuss investment opportunities in the green and blue economies with the potential to drive inclusive growth and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the African continent.

In her opening remarks, Ms Sarah Poole, UNDP Deputy Assistant Administrator and Officer-in-Charge, Regional Bureau for Arab States mentioned that the annual SDG financing gap in Africa has grown to USD 353 billion due to unexpected external shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted the importance of mobilizing untapped global finance in collaboration with governments, the private sector, civil society, and citizens in order to close the financing gap and consequently advance sustainable development in Africa. She also explained how development partners like UNDP can support creating the enabling conditions for directing financing flows towards proven SDG-aligned investment opportunities: “Together with governments and partners, UNDP developed SDG Investor Maps, which have enabled us to guide investors’ decision-making towards the SDGs and direct capital to where it is most needed, as part of the broader integration of public and private as well as domestic and international financing streams”, said Ms Poole, noting that the SDGs are estimated to generate USD 12 trillion in market opportunities and emphasizing the role of increased investments in the green and blue economy in improving the livelihood of people in Africa.

The Africa Continental Investor Convening featured country spotlights where national investment promotion agencies from Djibouti, Mauritius and Nigeria presented investment opportunities from their respective SDG Investor Maps. Mr Ken Poonoosamy, CEO of the Economic Development Board (EDB), highlighted Mauritius’ positive economic outlook and discussed the Decentralized Water Treatment and Supply Systems investment opportunity and its Energies des Mascareignes (EDM) project towards a zero-waste tuna industry. Mr John Oseji, Director of the Department of Policy Advocacy of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) spoke about the Deep Sea Ports opportunity and presented the investment study project from Ondo State, which is capable of supporting modern shipping vessels, for consideration. Ms Rahma Omar Kamil, Director of Investments of the National Investment Promotion Agency, discussed Djibouti’s significant wind energy potential, particularly in Ghoubbet / Assal, Gali Maab Wein and Bada, pointing towards the Large-Scale Wind Power Generation investment opportunity.

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The country spotlights were followed by a dynamic panel discussion on how Japanese private sector can realise African investment opportunities, and what support public institutions can provide towards accelerating investments in Africa’s green and blue economies. Mr Akira Wada from Toyota Tsusho Corporation reflected on the recently concluded TICAD 8 and remarked that Japanese investors are committed to investing in Africa as a new frontier, especially around renewable energy opportunities: “SDG Investor Maps will be useful in considering entry points in African markets, especially if they feature enabling environment information, including available renewable energy incentives, and as the coverage is expanded to additional countries”. Mr Florian Kemmerich from Bamboo Capital Partners confirmed the dynamic nature of African markets, and elaborated on key investment needs and opportunities: “Our investment focus lies on the so-called “missing-middle” to fund, via loans and equity, rural SMEs, early stage companies, but also financial institutions in order for them to localise funding themselves. We see potential for high growth and job creation but also drive social development for communities and countries, often lacking capital they need to grow their businesses”.

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), represented by Executive Director Ms Preeti Sinha, highlighted an example of how development partners can catalyze private capital in the green and blue economy: “For example in The Gambia, UNCDF built on the project sourcing by UNDP to provide financial structuring and administration of a USD 9 million guarantee from the Multi-Donor Trust Fund for a solar power project, which resulted in a USD 15 million private investment thanks to the de-risking support”. As the panel moderator, Dr Ayodele Odusola, Director of the UNDP Africa Sustainable Finance Hub and Resident Representative of UNDP South Africa noted, “The time is ripe for the public-private collaboration presented in the context of TICAD 8. More than ever, we are seeing a multitude of investment opportunities for the Japanese private sector in African markets, which is key to the transformative development of the continent and achieving the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063”.

In his intervention and closing remarks, Mr Wale Shonibare, Director for Energy Financial Solutions for Policy and Regulation at AfDB said: “Private sector opportunities, like those captured in the SDG Investor Maps, will enable regional integration and drive Africa’s economies in the future whereby the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) serves as a unique enabler. Development finance institutions like AfDB can work with governments and the private sector to create synergies for maximum impact, for example through initiatives like the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and Africa Guarantee Fund promoting private investments in energy-efficient technologies and business models, with the objective of decarbonising African economies and accelerating the continent’s energy transition”.

Please find a recording of the Africa Continental Investor Convening here. For findings of the SDG Investor Maps from Djibouti, Mauritius and Nigeria and 20 other countries, with 400+ SDG investment opportunities, please visit the SDG Investor Platform: https://sdginvestorplatform.undp.org/market-intelligence.

UNDP Africa Sustainable Finance Hub, UNDP TICAD Unit, UNDP RBAS