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UNDP’s ‘Build Bangladesh Fund’ to help achieve SDGs: PM

From Fahad Ferdous, UNB Staff Writer 

Wednesday 20 September, 2017 11:03:58 pm

UNDP’s ‘Build Bangladesh Fund’ to help achieve SDGs: PM

New York, Sept 20 (UNB) - Extending her thanks to the UNDP for launching the 'Build Bangladesh - UNDP Impact Fund' and creating the UNDP Social Impact Finance (UNSIF), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday said this could be a critical tool for unlocking private investment to complement government and donor funding for SDGs.

"The first investment of this fund will be in Bangladesh under the banner of the “Build Bangladesh - UNDP Impact Fund”. It adds to the list of many innovative firsts that Bangladesh has offered to the world. I’m pleased to hear that the initial endowment of the fund will be used for affordable housing in Bangladesh, with the support of Chinese impact investors," she said.

Sheikh Hasina was delivering her statement at a high-level side event titled 'Creating a Policy Vision for SDG Finance Facilitating Private Sector Investment in the SDGs' at the UN Headquarters.

Hoping that the ‘Build Bangladesh Fund’ will do justice to its name and will be an example not only in Bangladesh but also globally, she said, "It should be yet another opportunity to showcase how private sector can do good while doing well."

The Prime Minister also thanked Canada and the UNDP for partnering with Bangladesh to mark the launch of the fund today. "We look forward to working together with you all to promote business contribution to creating a sustainable future for our peoples and planet," she added.

According to UNCTAD, the Prime Minister said, the world will need 3.3-4.5 trillion dollars a year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). "It would be a major challenge for our governments to mobilise such resources. The private sector needs to be on board to address the financing gaps," she said.

She said the private sector in developing countries already accounts for 60 percent of GDP, 80 percent of capital flows and 90 percent of jobs. It bears logic that partnership with private sector is actively factored in for financing SDGs, she said.

In Bangladesh, Hasina said, the private sector is coming forward as a strong and willing partner. "Under our Seventh Five-year Plan, we expect the private sector to finance two-thirds of our national development efforts."

She went on saying, "In our aspiration to become a strong middle-income country by 2021, we need the private sector firmly by our side."

The Prime Minister said with that in mind, her government has set up a number of entities under her office to mobilise increased private sector investment. “The Bangladesh Investment Development Authority is working on facilitating large investments, with focus on FDI.”

She said the Bangladesh Economic Zone Authority is setting up 100 Special Economic Zones in the next few years while the Office of Public-Private Partnership is speeding up PPP projects and building capacity of public institutions for the purpose.

Hasina said the Principal SDG Coordinator based in her office oversees the work of all these entities. "This we have done consciously in an effort to link private sector investment with SDGs. Thanks to many such initiatives, FDI in Bangladesh rose from under 1 billion dollars in 2010 to 2.5 billion in 2016."

Noting that it is refreshing to see that the private sector is taking SDGs seriously, she said, "This was hardly the case with MDGs. Companies around the world are including SDGs into their corporate mission statements and business plans. Many CEOs believe that their future business success will depend on being inclusive and sustainable."

The Prime Minister said this is giving rise to new forms of investment opportunities such as impact investment which seeks both financial and social returns.