Moderator: Eleni Giokos, CNN Business Africa Correspondent
David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Jason Channell, Managing Director and Global Head of Sustainable Finance, Citi Global Insights
Elliott Harris, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and Chief Economist, UN DESA
Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, CEO of Christian Aid
Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director General, Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission
As the deadline to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is fast approaching with limited progress, the panel discussed challenges facing the SDGs, pathways to leverage joint efforts and resources from different sectors, and the importance of a comprehensive development strategy.
Multilateralism. Panelists agreed that multilateralism and stepped-up global efforts are critical to overcome challenges facing the SDGs. Harris argued that international cooperation was necessary for the world to deliver on the SDGs, particularly given the challenge to make headway on climate change and other fronts. Lipton noted that the IMF is helping members reaching the SDG goals through strengthened fiscal capacity and improved tax systems, with a parallel effort seeking to reorient expenditure to projects with bigger developmental impact.
Roles of Stakeholders. Panelists discussed the various roles that different actors can play. Jager encouraged leveraging resources of both public and private sectors to invest in human capital. Lipton stressed that private investment can help facilitate SDGs and build robust economies, but in some countries additional efforts are needed to improve the investment climate and reduce corruption and address governance weaknesses. Mukwashi noted the private sector could play a more important role if tax incentives took better into account the social returns for local people, as tax avoidance should be reduced in those countries that need more fiscal revenue for development.
Comprehensive Strategy. Panelists stressed the importance of a comprehensive development strategy. Jager called for tailor-made comprehensive strategies for different countries to spur investment for growth and social spending to leave no one behind. Channell echoed the need to include infrastructure projects as a part of a coherent and long-term development plan.
“It is unlikely that countries can do everything themselves. They are going to need help from outside.” David Lipton
“The problem is not that we don’t want the SDGs. The problem is that we don’t want to take politically difficult decisions to make that possible.” Elliott Harris
“Many mothers need to make decisions on whether to spend the money they have on a sick child who is about to die or on the food for children that are starving and hungry.” Amanda Khozi Mukwashi
Contributor: Danny Xufeng Jiang