SDG Finance in Least Developed Countries: Focus on Malawi

Posted September 21, 2021

The OECD estimates the financing challenge to have increased during the pandemic by 50% in 2020 with the gap reaching USD $3.7 trillion. To close this gap, we need to better mobilize and align financing flows with the SDGs - we would only need to align 1% of the estimated USD $379 trillion in global wealth to do so.

UNDP Malawi

 

Honourable Sosten Alfred Gwengwe,    
Excellencies,

It is my pleasure to participate in this side-event to discuss the critical importance of financing the Sustainable Development Goals in Least Developed Countries.       

Thank you Preeti for the opening remarks. The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is indeed playing a key role in this area with its ability to deploy loans and guarantees, as well as create innovative financing instruments like the BUILD Fund.

At the outset, allow me to also congratulate the Honourable Minister and the Government of Malawi for their pioneering work on finance, including through the blended finance facility which will be discussed today.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We at the United Nations believe that we are at a unique moment in history. Responding to the crisis and challenges posed by the global pandemic we have an opportunity to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a roadmap to chart a course to greater resilience in the future.

Adequate finance will be critical to making progress and we are working with governments around the world to bring the SDGs to the core of decision making on public and private investments.

The challenge for financing the SDGs continues to grow. The OECD estimates the financing challenge to have increased during the pandemic by 50% in 2020 with the gap reaching USD $3.7 trillion. To close this gap, we need to better mobilize and align financing flows with the SDGs - we would only need to align 1% of the estimated USD $379 trillion in global wealth to do so.

I would like to highlight four areas where UNDP, UNCDF and the broader UN development system can provide support on both mobilising and aligning finance for the SDGs:

First, ensuring that policy enables finance to align with the SDGs. I commend the Government of Malawi for its work to put in place an Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) to deliver its national Growth and Development Strategy. This INFF will be a critical framework for ensuring policies across public and private finance are working to align investment with national development priorities.

Second, beyond policy we need more financing instruments to de-risk and crowd in finance, enabling investment in the SDGs to go to scale – the blended finance facility we discuss today is a great example of such an instrument.

Third, we support greater transparency and accountability for how finance impacts the SDGs. This was the rationale for UNDP’s launch of SDG Impact in September 2018, which is pioneering the standardization of impact measurement and management to link financial products to the achievement of the SDGs.

I am pleased to announce that the Joint SDG Fund will pilot the OECD-UNDP Impact Standards at the country level in its Catalytic Investment portfolio in four countries and will encourage the consortia and financial vehicles that it supports to adopt the SDG Impact Standards for Enterprises, Bond Issuers, and Private Equity Funds.

As Malawi’s INFF shows us, we must not measure development impacts only in respect to innovative finance instruments. All financial decision-making needs to incorporate consideration of development metrics.

Let me finish with the fourth and perhaps the most important area for focus: more and stronger partnerships. The scale of transformation we are looking for to achieve the SDGs requires the type of partnerships that we are demonstrating today – across the UN, governments and the private sector, as well as with International Financial Institutions and other actors. UNCDF’s partnership with Bamboo Capital Partners to create the global BUILD Fund is a great example of blended finance in action- the theme of today’s event. This Fund demonstrates how different parts of the UN system are working together to catalyse greater private sector financing into some of the most challenging markets to invest in.

The initiative we discuss today is a model for us to follow. We are grateful for the donors who have provided resources through the Joint SDG Fund to enable this pioneering work.

UNDP looks forward to working with UNCDF, the Joint SDG Fund, the Government of Malawi, the private sector and other partners to make this ambition achievable.
 

Thank you.