The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP through its Africa Finance Sector Hub (AFSH), launched its flagship knowledge action-oriented product, the Ecosystem Development Approach (EDA) Report.  Through this report, UNDP endeavours to carefully consider lessons learnt and share the implementation success stories in the findings from the three African countries who were early adopters of this transformative approach to creating business impact for people and the planet.

The virtual meeting convened several key players including Honourable Minister of Finance, Kingdom of Lesotho, Mr. Thabo Sofonea, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities of Uganda, Mrs. Doreen S. Katusiime, CEO of Africa Venture Philanthropic Association, Dr. Frank Aswani, UNDP Resident Representative South Africa and Director, AFSH, UNDP Country Office staff and other Regional Experts on the subject matter that were pivotal in the successful implementation of EDA in the Uganda, Senegal and Lesotho Country Offices.

The EDA comes as a timely toolkit to enable countries to deliver transformative post-COVID-19 recovery solutions. Evidence of its effectiveness shows that through the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders, EDA enabled governments to initiate and deliver some of the strategic progress and policy reforms required across multiple ministries. It was noted that the approach enabled the creation of partnerships and facilitated the establishment of cross-sector integrated solutions that targeted the needs of stakeholders across the value chain.

A reflection and consensus amongst the discussants revolved around how EDA presents an innovative way through which countries could successfully engage the private sector to drive inclusive growth as it leverages collaboration and the co-creation among stakeholder interventions. This is facilitated through an Action Platform to address challenges in the business ecosystem that stifles opportunities and impact. Additionally, the Innovation Challenge Award directly supports business solutions/innovations and provides Catalytic Support to scale up and replicate innovation and business solutions with the direct participation of private sector companies and entrepreneurs.

The Honourable Minister of Finance, Kingdom of Lesotho, Mr. Thabo Sofonea dubbed this “a game-changer”.

UNDP’s field experience during implementation observed the following impact outcomes: Lesotho (Financial Inclusion through Mobile Money) improved financial inclusion through access to mobile money; Uganda (Tourism Development) developed a competitive tourism sector that benefits marginalized communities and informal businesses; Senegal (Access to Solar Energy) aims to improve access to solar energy services for low-income populations through the creation of a supportive ecosystem for inclusive businesses in the solar energy sector.

Dr. Ayodele Adusola, UNDP Resident Representative South Africa and Director of the Africa Finance Sector Hub, emphasized that tackling post-COVID-19 socio-economic recovery requires a coalition of stakeholders in order to improve conditions for the private sector to contribute to better healthcare systems, create jobs, and support SMEs. “The collaborative nature of the EDA will allow various stakeholders to join forces against climate change through interventions such as regenerative agriculture, clean transport, or clean energy and managing the transition to carbon-neutral solutions. If we are to achieve inclusive and transformative impact required to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the EDA creates an enabling environment for this. UNDP stands ready to partner and replicate our success in other countries, with other impact opportunities. When we all share in the vision and action for a better future for people and the planet, we can tackle complex development challenges.” he noted.

 

The findings of the report prove the effectiveness of the EDA in relation to the following aspects:

·       Local ownership. The approach leverages the collective intelligence, resources, and capabilities of ecosystem members and aligns their strategies for solving challenges.

·       Transformation. The approach strikes at the root causes of development challenges and builds local capacity to tackle them. Innovation Challenges enable entrepreneurs to develop and test concrete business solutions, generating tangible impact quickly.

·       Sustainability. The approach creates the structures for local actors to continue to solve their own challenges collectively and continuously improve the business enabling environment.

·       Track record. The approach has a track record of success. In Lesotho, Senegal, and Uganda, Inclusive Business Ecosystem Initiatives have triggered policy changes including tax reforms, improved quality standards, trained workers, and helped develop and scale business model innovations and financing mechanisms.

Full recording of the launch: Link to Recording

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Download the study here: https://bit.ly/3D16tBh

AFSH is ready to engage and partner to support EDA field implementation in African countries, for more information about EDA contact:

Tomas Sales Africa Finance Sector Hub Private Sector Special Advisor, UNDP, tomas.Sales@undp.org  

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