On 29 September 2020, UNDP South Africa launched the report “The South Africa SDG Investor Map” which is a result of a study conducted between April and July 2020 to map out business opportunities that are linked to the SDGs. The event was hosted virtually with private sector, government including Minsters and DG’s, diplomatic corps and civil society in attendance.
The Resident Representative of UNDP South Dr. Ayodele Odusola chaired the event and Resident Coordinator Ms. Nardos Bekele Tomas gave an opening address where she noted “South Africa’s Investor Map as the second of its kind to be developed world wide and the first on the African continent,” the first being launched last year in Brazil. “This innovative strategy is intended to support South African government to meet its long-term development agendas” added Bekele Tomas. The SDG Investor Map offers investors actionable intelligence and localised insight into sectors and market conditions with significant profitability potential in addition to impact.
The SDG Investor Map identifies 30 investment opportunities across 4 priority investment sectors, namely: infrastructure, education, health care, and agriculture. This is consistent with the strategic priorities of National Development Plan of tackling the triple challenges of poverty, inequality, and unemployment and the UN SDG principles of “Leaving No One Behind” and “Transformative Partnerships” between the public sector, private sector, and civil society.
Some of the speakers at the launch included CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange Dr. Leila Fourie, who highlighted through a pre-recorded video message that “as economies are now experiencing recession, trillions of dollars have been wiped out in the global markets and the demand for investment opportunities is high at the moment and that’s where the SDGs investor map comes in.” Fourie added that “the JSE has recently launched the sustainability segment which add social and sustainability bonds to well established green bonds” which are JSE’s initiatives towards sustainable development.
UNDP Special Adviser for Private Sector and SDG Financing Mr. Tomas Sales presented an overview of the report highlighting that “The report was done during COVID-19 and as such some other investment opportunities are aimed at addressing the inequalities caused by the pandemic.” Some of the points highlighted by Sales are as follows:
- there was an estimated 400 billion capital identified as the sustainable development investment where a large amount of it went to infrastructure and the second was invested on healthcare and the smallest was invested in education sector.
- the health care sectors tend to raise capital directly in the market, there was no venture capital. But Covid-19 might change that and we might see the venture capital in that sector.
- there’s a gap of 500 thousand for student accommodation, signaling that there is an investment opportunity in this area.
- health care professional training centers and digital technologies are among the gaps to investment.
The event highlighted a strong interest from both government and private sector in the need for sustainable financing for the SDGs in South Africa, and greater avenues of partnership in the future. It reaffirmed the significance of leaving no one behind and reminded us of the need to work towards conditions that will enable new financial instruments. This is crucial as we work towards recovery from COVID-19.
The report can be downloaded here
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