The first global summit of public development banks on Thursday showcased a collective resolve to accelerate efforts to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), including addressing fragility.
The Finance In Common summit, which forms part of the 2020 Paris Peace Forum, has rallied together some 450 public development banks to build a new coalition to better face the COVID-19 crisis by upscaling SDGs financing.
The summit is convened by Agence francaise de développement, in partnership with the African Development Bank, under the high patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron, with the participation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“By convening today and bringing to life this coalition, which is unprecedented, besides its diversity, and its liaising role with all financial players, you remind us that it’s possible to build common, consistent and joint responses to major global challenges,” Macron said.
He commended public development banks for playing a lead role in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on livelihoods.
Addressing the plenary session, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, called on public development banks to join forces with the private sector to fill the $2.5 trillion yearly financing gap needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.
“Nothing can dampen our collective resolve to provide better opportunities for all, to create hope for millions of youth, to end extreme poverty and to provide a better, safer and healthier future for all,” declared Adesina, co-chair of the session.
He also cited various interventions by the Bank, including a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility and a $3 billion COVID-19 social bond, noting that it had helped to save livelihoods.
To advance Africa’s recovery, the African Development Bank’s priority for the post-COVID-19 era is to work with multilateral banks, public investment institutions and commercial creditors to equip the continent with critical resources to withstand any potential exogenous shocks.
“Together, let’s do finance in common, let’s have a financing coalition, financing complementarity and financing consolidation,” Adesina said.
Remy Rioux, head of Agence francaise de développement, said the summit had showcased the passion of development banks to attain inclusive growth and the SDGs.
“We want to do more; we want to do better, we want to do it together with the private sector; with civil society, and with local authorities, to unleash the full potential of the regions (we serve),” he said.
Several global leaders and heads of state addressed the summit virtually. They included Senegalese President Macky Sall, President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada, former Prime Minister of Latvia, Valdis Dombrovskis, and Alok Sharma, former British Minister of State.
There were also solidarity messages from other multilateral finance institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, recognizing the crucial role of public development banks.
“But the road to recovery is going to be steep and we would need massive investments in human and fiscal capital; what will be the quality of these investments will determine our future and you public development banks have a major role to play to help the recovery and also to overcome the vulnerabilities we had prior to the pandemic when we experienced low productivity, low growth, high inequality and a looming climate crisis,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.
Through its High 5 priorities, the African Development Bank has boosted its support to fragile states, with financial commitments increasing by 51% between 2014 and 2019, compared to the previous five years. Some 345 operations valued at $6.45 billion have been approved for countries where fragility remains.
For example, in 2019, the Bank launched the Desert to Power initiative, an energy integration program that covers 11 countries and 250 million people in the Sahel region. Its goal is to install 1.1 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2030, generate economic opportunities for local communities and develop overall socio-economic resilience.