Safaricom joins UN push to scale up private sector investment for sustainable development

The UN announced has annouced that 30 influential leaders from the corporate world will work together over the next two years in a bid to free up trillions of dollars from the private sector to finance the Sustainable Development Goals.

Convened by Secretary-General António Guterres, the Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) Alliance is co-chaired by Oliver Bäte, CEO of Allianz, and Leila Fourie, CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and includes the heads of Safaricom, Bank of America, Citigroup, ICBC, Infosys, Investec, Santander, UBS and other prominent international corporations. (See complete list below.)

“We face widening inequality, increased devastation from conflicts and disasters and a rapidly warming Earth. These leaders have seized our sense of urgency, recognizing that our pace must be at a run, not a crawl,” Guterres said. “They are committing to cooperate across borders, across financial sectors and even with their competitors, because it is both ethical and good business sense to invest in sustainable development for all people on a healthy planet.”

The High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development held during the recent UN General Assembly brought to attention the urgent need for increasing government spending on crucial sectors such as health, education, infrastructure, and climate change. Most developed countries have not met their commitments to ODA, while factors like poverty, corruption, and tax evasion limit domestic resources in developing countries.

The development finance needs are estimated at trillions of dollars per year, and even if funding from all public sources is maximized, there will still be a significant shortfall, making financing from the private sector imperative.

“Given the current state of the world in terms of growing inequalities; rising carbon emissions; growing global hunger; rising unemployment and social discontent, business leaders must play a larger role in ensuring their companies take the lead in societal transformation through business processes and services and not just through philanthropy. We are honored to be joining this alliance that will help scale up investment for sustainable development”, said Michael Joseph, CEO, Safaricom.

The UN’s research suggests that there is no shortage of money from the private sector which could be invested in sustainable development. However, a combination of factors, including the policy environment, incentive structures and institutional conditions, tend to discourage the kind of long-term commitment that is needed.

The Alliance aims to use their expertise, influence and business acumen in devising ways to stimulate long term investment in development and speed up progress towards achieving the SDGs.

Over the next two years, the group will:

  • Deliver solutions to unlock long-term finance and investment in sustainable development both at company and system-wide levels;
  • Mobilize additional resources for countries and sectors most in need;
  • Find ways to increase the positive impact of business activities; and
  • Align business practices with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The move comes amidst a growing recognition in the corporate community that the continued success of their companies is inextricably linked to a sustainable future for the world.

The Secretary-General has established a timeline for actionable results over the life of the Alliance. Its work will be coordinated by the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

GISD Alliance Membership

Allianz SE Germany Mr. Oliver Bäte, CEO
APG Netherlands Mr. Ronald Wuijster, CEO
Aviva U.K. Mr. Maurice Tulloch, CEO
Banco Santander Spain Ms. Ana Botin, Group Exec. Chairman
Bancolombia Colombia Mr. Juan Carlos Mora Uribe, CEO
Bank of America USA Mr. Brian Moynihan, Chairman & CEO
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec Canada Mr. Michael Sabia, President & CEO
California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) USA Ms. Marcie Frost, CEO
CIMB Malaysia Mr. Zafrul Aziz, Group CEO & ED
Citigroup USA Mr. Michael Corbat, CEO
Consejo Mexicano de Negocios Mexico Mr. Antonio Del Valle Perochena, President
Les Eaux Minérales d’Oulmès Morocco Mrs. Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun, CEO
Emirates Environmental Group UAE Ms. Habiba Al Mar’ashi, Co-Founder & Chairperson
Enel S.p.A Italy Mr. Francesco Starace, CEO & GM
First State Super Australia Ms. Deanne Stewart, CEO
Government Pension Investment Fund Japan Mr. Hiro Mizuno, Exec. MD & Chief Investment Officer
ICBC China Mr. Shu Gu, President & ED
Infosys India Mr. Salil Parekh, CEO & MD
Investec Group South Africa Mr. Fani Titi, Co CEO
Johannesburg Stock Exchange South Africa Ms. Leila Fourie, CEO
Nuveen USA Mr. Vijay Advani, CEO
Pal Pensions Nigeria TBC*
PIMCO USA Mr. Emmanuel Roman, CEO
Safaricom Kenya Mr. Michael Joseph, CEO a.i.
Sintesa Group Indonesia Ms. Shinta Widjaja Kamdani, CEO
Standard Chartered U.K. Mr. José Viñals, Group Chairman
SulAmerica Brazil Mr. Patrick Antonio Claude de Larragoiti Lucas, Chairman
Swedish Investors for Sustainable Development Sweden Mr. Richard Gröttheim, CEO, AP7
TDC Group A/S Denmark Ms. Allison Kirkby, Pres. & Group CEO
UBS Group AG Switzerland Mr. Sergio P. Ermotti, Group CEO

*Due to a recent change in leadership, the representative of Pal Pensions will be appointed at a later date.

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