The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is urging businesses in the Private Sector to use the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for impact investment in Ghana.
The call was made by the acting Resident Representative of UNDP Ghana, Ms. Gita Welch in a keynote address at the 2018 Ghana Impact Dialogue held in Accra by the Global Steering Group (GSG) on the theme “Creating A Ghanaian Impact Economy”.
Ms. Welch emphasized that impact investment is crucial for the achievement of the SDGs as it brings more philanthropic and private money into the development system to drive powerful social change.
“Through the process of allocating resources for products and services, the private sector could make returns to expand the interest in making purposeful, replicable, measurable and impactful investments which would have powerful consequences for social change within our communities”, noted Ms. Welch.
She added that in line with the vision of “Ghana Beyond Aid”, developing an ecosystem for impact investment is very important, as this will complement traditional types of development financing (such as domestic public resources and official development assistance), with philanthropic, private and blended capital to enhance shared value.
Highlighting UNDP’s commitment to work with the private sector, philanthropy and Governments, Ms. Welch indicated that UNDP has established SDG Impact Facility at the global level to support businesses to adapt and transform their core strategies to deliver financial, social and environmental performance, and to use the SDGs as the basis for engaging in untapped markets.
This she said, will involve the development of SDGs Impact Seal and Certification training programs; business insights; projects that advance the SDGs and matchmaking opportunities between investors and enterprises.
Citing specific examples of UNDP’s impact investment initiatives in Ghana, the UNDP Ghana acting Resident Representative noted that, UNDP is facilitating a Multi-Stakeholder Waste Resource Platform, which is a digitally-enabled one stop shop solution to connect key stakeholders to promote waste recovery in the country.
She also stated that the Country Office is supporting a South-South Cooperation and match-making opportunities between businesses from Ghana and other countries from the South, one of which is resulting in a joint venture to establish a solar photovoltaic plant in Ghana.
Ms. Welch added that UNDP has facilitated the establishment of SDG Philanthropy Platform, which is forging partnerships for SDGs innovations and investments in the country.
In panel discussions at the dialogue on promoting impact investment in Ghana, the panelists agreed that businesses should focus more on the environmental impacts of their activities and not only on the social impacts.
They also explored how the private sector can be a hub for testing new ideas; driving a culture of using data to inform decisions at all sectors and supporting a transformation of the educational system to shift from knowledge acquisition to skills application.
The dialogue also witnessed the launch of a report on the State of Impact Investing in Ghana. Presenting key findings from the report, Ms. Krizstina Tora, Marketing and Development Director of the Global Steering Group, noted that impact investment in Ghana is growing, mainly due to Government interventions to increase the supply of capital in the market.
She, however, indicated that there is still a great deal of opportunities for policy makers to work with investors to further enhance the sector.
Key recommendations cited in the report for attracting more impact investments include provision of tax incentives for impact investors; amendment of the Pension Funds Management Act to allow pension funds in Ghana to invest into private equity as an asset class; the need for impact investors to develop flexible investment strategies/innovative structures; a call on local fund managers to adopt co-investment models; formalization of social enterprises; provision of market linkage support for small & medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and the need for a common platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing among stakeholders to promote start-ups and Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) across Ghana.
The 2018 Ghana Impact Dialogue was an initiative by the Global Steering Group (GSG) for Impact Investment, in partnership with the Department for International Development (DFID). It brought together key stakeholders from Ghana and beyond for a collaborative dialogue on Ghana’s future as an impact economy.