Day 2: 14 March 2023
SESSION 3: Harnessing Resources in Pursuit of Global Health and Wellbeing
Ms. Umra Omar, Founder of Safari Doctors, Kenya (Chair), introduced the panellists and their large range of experiences in the subject of global health. The relation between energy and health is so critical that it cuts across the whole set of SDGs; energy and health are inextricably linked, and access to safe and clean energy plays a crucial role in SDG 7 and 3 in particular. We must comprehend that health is a complete set of social, physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing, not just the absence of disease. An entire wellness that can transfer between people as shown by the pandemic, regardless of social status. The Panel would address the environmental, political and social determinants of health to produce economically healthy and productive societies. The Chair broke the theme in three thematic areas, i.e. defining resources, community in particular, and exploring innovation.
Mr. Mohamed Lemine, UNFPA, defined global health at all levels, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration at individual and clinical levels, going beyond national frontiers. COVID 19 showed that health issues are no longer contextualised. WHO has defined six building blocks for the health system: service delivery, health workforce, health information system, access to essential medicine, financing, governance and leadership. The component of human resources includes the workforce in all sectors and their skills, competence and dedication which determine the success of a health system. Shortage of qualified personnel to deliver health services during COVID was impacted by the disruption of the supply chain and also staff could not provide adequate services in a safe manner. Women often refrained from visiting health care centres out of fear for contamination. On the financial component, the key challenge is how to secure sustainable financing for the health service. In many developing countries, out of pocket spending amounts to 50-70% of payment for health services, especially in the context of inadequate insurance schemes. Public spending is lacking despite commitments such as the Abuja declaration to pay 50% for health care from public spending. Private sector and international development aid also fall short of their financing of the health sector. This huge gap affects frontline workers in the health sector, despite the Grand Bargain commitment to prioritise working with local actors wherever possible and that 5% of CERF allocations 5% should go to local actors.
Dr. Fawzi Amin, Head of Delegation IFRC-GCC, described the IFRC’s structure with 192 national societies, HQs branches and regional offices which can have access to even the most remote places in the world. Its training programme with two million volunteers to reduce expenses, is a structure designed to think globally and implement locally.
By working together, countries can focus on five identified priority areas that can have a great impact and bring about change, for which IFRC has developed effective strategies: to combat infectious diseases like malaria and tuberculosis; combat non-communicable diseases such as CVD, cancer and DM; to improve maternal and child health care to reduce maternal mortality rates; to promote access to essential medicines and improve quality and quantity available; and to address the social determinants of health. Including information sharing and research are essential. These efforts can help to create a healthier, more equitable world for all. (Attachment)
Dr. Samar El-Feky, Regional Advisor, WHO, focused on the people-centred health services and governance. To compensate for the lack of funding and resources, WHO concentrates on the community level health services with community health workers and volunteers. It developed training packages for them as they are part of the overall health system and at the same time provide basic health services and sometimes even emergency services at the community level. Building on the community assets, community health workers and volunteers are key elements to compensate for the resources shortfalls, some services raise resources at the community level as well with essential services also played by NGOs thus reducing the burden on the frontline workers. Many guidelines have been developed to improve the community engagement and the resources from communities and civil society to not only improve access to basic health care and needs, but also to move towards the achievement of the SDGs. Many multi-sectoral platforms at national level have been established to develop common approaches on health in all sectors. Help for all by all, to provide services affecting health while falling under other sectors and ensure solidarity from all sectors.
Comments from the Floor
How to ensure distribution is also reaching local communities, and how to promote accountability to SDGs?
How to prioritise interventions and funding allocations?
Harnessing resources also needs to consider leaking resources in view of the huge brain drain which is affecting the health sector. In the Sudan brain drain of midwives is prevented to some extent by making them community based and giving them a social role at community and local level. Incentives and improving work conditions of health staff is also a limiting factor.
Speaking of community health workers and volunteers brings the question whether volunteers should be paid as the health system is still suspicious of community health workers. Frontline workers support is needed to reduce budgets. Approaches differ between countries. In some countries community health workers are on the pay-role, in other they have a range of training and ability to provide basic services, while in other countries still they include basic education or some counselling and identification of high risk cases. They need to be trained and qualified during a selection process for simple diseases and supply bags. Most countries have enough resources, which are allocated with focus on high level interventions rather than focus on spreading and allocation at local levels.
With regard to networking and partnerships as an SDG, how do current big crises affect globally harnessing resources? This requires multisectoral interventions and solutions to be paired with unified resource bases.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS “Mobilising Resources for a Better Future”
H.E. Mr Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Co-Founder and Chairman, Al Ghurair Foundation.
SG PAM welcomed the Speaker with a short introduction about his many important commitment, achievements and vision to create a reality.
Shared commitments to humanitarian causes demand for actions to be collective and sustainable, action for impact not just a slogan, our duty to act with urgency and purpose.
Compassion, dedication, and innovative and practical solutions are essential for youth. There is no shortage of gloomy statistics, it is our duty to develop a solution to bring a prosperous future for vulnerable youth who need our duty to mobilise resources and develop solutions for their future. Without education it is impossible to overcome current crises and missed opportunities. The MENA region faces the highest unemployment rate, and we have a moral duty to act together to ensure this generation will not miss education. The Refugee Education Fund was launched in 2018 with a three-year perspective, to which now three more years have been added. So far over 62,000 refugees and vulnerable youth have been supported to lead them to jobs and livelihood. Resources of USD 44 million have now been doubled with three fold achievement of the initial target by learning, adapting, and more holistic and strategic partnerships.
His approach to successful philanthropy in eight steps:
- setting a clear and compelling vision and strategy with whom and what to support;
- deciding why it matters and where to make the most positive impact;
- good governance, transparency and accountability are the cornerstones to success;
- aligning collaboration with response based management and transparent strategic goals;
- setting funding officially, and properly with a clear purpose in mind, securing funding in advance;
- hiring professional people to manage philanthropy, remaining connected with the team and understanding their perspective;
- setting aside some time and knowledge, network and influence;
- getting involved – asking questions at grassroots level, e.g. with lifetime stories and sincerity of staff;
- sharing impact and learning and inspiring other philanthropies to achieve better results for those who need our help with strong coordination and a shared objective. Be relentless in finding solutions and unite to a target with the right support where it is really needed.
SESSION 4: Harnessing Resources for Inclusive, Equitable Quality Education
Dr. Yannick Du Pont, CEO, SPARK (Chair), noticed the audience’s high level of knowledge of development and humanitarian affairs, and introduced the innovative composition of the Panel with background in education, philanthropy and the private sector.
Connectivity is key, in particular of digital education, also to learn how to use technology, focused on delivery on the ground combining strategy and practice. This includes training of technology and different scenarios for teachers. If children in low or middle income countries are not receiving education now, there will be a generation without having learned the basic requirements for employment. The digital divide can only be bridged with education also as stakeholders.
Currently, 2.7 billion people are without access to technology, so to bridge this gap interconnectedness is a must. However, even if connectivity exists, many people still lack the knowledge to make use of the technology.
Dr. Sonia Ben Jaafar, CEO, Al Ghurair Foundation, mentioned there are many lessons learned of the Foundation with over 60,000 students supported with a high success rate that is based on the strategic approach with transparency and accountability, and the eight steps introduced by the Chairman of the Foundation. Projects are ongoing in the UAE, Jordan and Lebanon and with universities in Canada, on the context. During the Pandemic there were 17,500 participants, and they agreed on shifting priorities and budget lines through information sharing and programmatic changes to allow for responsive management. Financing is leveraged with outside support, for which information and experience sharing proved the main asset.
Dr. Waleed Al Ali, Secretary General, the Digital School, defined harvesting resources for education for it to be of high quality at all levels, open to all without discrimination, and improving other SDGs such as health. Economic development is achieved with every dollar invested in education raising 20 dollars and increasing GDP by 5% per year, reducing maternal death potentially by 70% if all women would have a first level of education. Even any kind of arrangement with innovative technology to continue education during the pandemic had an impact for those who needed it most with the start of the Digital School, with the objective to reach one million students over five years. Building heavily on partnerships, the Digital School project is now expanded to seven countries, with over 40,000 students and training 1,500 more by distance education. Partnerships are essential to complement each other and giving access and creating solutions, e.g. offline solutions to broadcast within 1 km radius, classrooms with solar power, saving 90% power used for computers and similar solutions for use of renewable power. It also partners with WFP for school meals now provided in 500 community centres. Harnessing partnerships is key to harnessing resources to enable provision of quality education.
Ms. Ayah Shashaa, Societal Impact, Udacity, explained that Udacity is also an online education facility with a mission of democratising education in over 170 countries, creating social mobility for learners at home. Refugees can access 36% to basic education vs 86% globally, but for higher education this drops to 36% globally and only 1% for refugees. This shows the drastic gap between communities and countries, challenges and principles, raising the question how to bridge the gap for which technology can be used, in particular in rural settings. To do outreach and marketing, in Nigeria the focus is on female communities after experiencing trafficking to allow them access to education. Partnerships are critical parts of the ecosystem with funders and specialists of different sectors and empowering communities to ensure interaction with quantifiable and strategic goals.
Learning a skill helps to get access to paid employment for self-support with innovative ways to develop more people with skills that are of need or useful in online communities. It is important to break down the larger issues into manageable tasks. Marketable post-secondary education, e.g. to develop gig-developers by partnering with the market, requires to find out at first whether their education will actually lead to a livelihood with several levels to become self-sustaining and building bridges for others. School is an interpretation of society, skill sets have to be clearly identified, adapting teaching format and model, e.g. with self-learning increasing the number of people gaining access to training skills. The need to rethink education became apparent after the pandemic with more digital education depending on the identified needs, keeping in mind that education is here to stay. Also home schooling with more flexibility while still respecting national laws and using digital education in parallel. AI can play a role in bridging the widening gap, but we need also to be reassured of the quality of online education services.
Session Comments from the Floor
As inclusivity in education projects is important, could it be extended to girls education through digital means? Refugees but also host communities are to be included in educational services to achieve equitable access to education. The Gulf region shows high involvement of girls / women in higher education, but it is imperative to explain well to the local authorities the purpose, value and contents of the education involves, with respect for the culture and to overcome cultural barriers, e.g. on the use of social media by youth.
Education falls way behind in case of an emergency and is not seen as a basic requirement as health is. How can renewable resources be used in providing education? Gap identifying with most of limited funding going to primary education, but it is essential to use evidence based findings to not stop education funding and more efficiently close the funding gap. Need for M&E to donors to show impact of their funding and in particular of their non-funding. Digital education allows for showing impact and results more easily and thus indicating to donors how their funding is used and its impact.
Are there examples of success stories? So far the hybrid education system provides options to enlarge participation, also by partnerships with other skills providers and academia, thus addressing ways to reduce the gap.
Do core fundamental skills at early level able to move to success also in public schooling system? Important to create an interest e.g. by showing a project- based approach.
What are perspective funders looking for besides the effect of pilot projects of using solar energy?
The Chair rounded up this Session with a diversified panel with great engagement from the audience with multiple questions and comments.
H.E. Mr Francesco Rocca, President, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), focused on the topic of the role of energy in the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Federation are the eyes and ears on the ground in the most remote locations to support the survival of the people, including displaced. The recent earthquake has increased displacement by a further 1.5 million people, and created vulnerable conditions, in particular the lack of energy, electricity and fuel in harsh winter conditions. Lack of fuel made the aid delivery impossible, while hospital generators could no longer function. Energy should never be weaponised against humans or denied to those in need. In the MENA region, Climate Change is the major crisis intensifier and causing a silent disaster with a lack of affordable energy affecting access to humanitarian assistance and basic services. IFRC sees the need to prioritise support to the most vulnerable communities suffering food shortage or displacement due to the impact of climate driven events. It focuses on building resilience and scaling up risk reduction and early warning to have transformative results and to ensure that no-one is left behind. Presence on the ground of the 192 national societies and involvement of local actors are key to strengthen local communities. COP28 will provide a welcome opportunity to further engage with other actors and the UAE Government to focus on finding solutions for local communities, following on the COP27 resolution but with more concrete effects on the ground. Partnerships are needed to decrease silos across sectors, and apply innovative approaches which is now more important than ever. IFRC’s initiatives in local communities need to be replicated on a global scale for climate resilience plans and programmes.
IFRC is committed to Increase urgencies and actions needed to reduce the impact of Climate Change with collective locally led action with all partners and communities. (Attachment)
“Harnessing Resources for the Bambino Gesu Project”
H.E. Monsignor Yoannis Lahzi Gaid, Representative of the Holy See in the High Committee of Human Fraternity, President of the Bambino Gesu Association and the Human Fraternity Foundation, presented the project aiming to ease the suffering of mothers and children. It is a dream to change the life of people based on the concept to offer the best services without any discrimination. The Gulf region is still suffering from a high degree of genetic disorders, and is needing support. If many dream together, it is the beginning of a new reality, a dream for all the children and women in the region who need this kind of help.
Prof. Marina Macchiaoli, Medical Director Rare Diseases and Medical Genetics Operational Unit, Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, clarified that this large paediatric hospital in Rome belongs to the Holy See but falls also within the Italian health system, providing free health care. The Bambino Gesu Hospital in Cairo is a branch, but also built as a women’s hospital. Egypt was chosen for its location to be able to respond to the needs of children and pregnant women who do not have the means and are not covered by the country. Neonatal mortality indicators show better numbers, but this is not in relation to the large population increase in Egypt. Infant and child and maternal mortality is still too high with every two minutes a woman dying of pregnancy-related causes! Most of these deaths are preventable with the right care at the right time!
Consanguinity is high in Egypt with 60% of marriages between cousins, requiring good premarital / preconception screening with secondary prevention through checking on diseases and high risk pregnancy. Promoting a safe delivery culture through midwife schooling, and research with biomarking. Health has to be also sustainable with environmentally friendly building materials, and use of safe energy by solar energy.
The goal of the project is to provide a highly excellent hospital, with a link to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, also to become a referral centre. (Attachment)
“Can Sustainable Energy Help Break the Fragility Cycle?”
Mr Claus Sorensen, Senior Adviser on Resilience, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), questioned the link between sustainable and affordable energy and combating fragility of the poorest and most destitute of the world. Energy is part of the solution in countries faced with drought, Climate Change, and demographic explosions, causing huge pressure from beneath. With the breakdown of stability, and local, often violent, conflicts in the fight over resources, can renewable energy help to address the issue of fragility? A paradigm shift is needed, mobilising all creativity of humankind. A recent OECD fragility overview shows extremely fragile countries lacking economic growth. CO2 emissions affect the link between economic growth and energy intensity per capita; youth, forced displacement, and the link to good governance, a minimum of stability, functioning justice and institutions. Mapping of violent incidents in West Africa shows an increase in incidents, now exacerbated by the Wagner group and other undesired interference to the collapse of Libya.
SDG 3 targets efficiency to reduce the link between the increase in GDP and energy use when distribution becomes more equitable. Energy justice, equity and the capacity to control are marked by many variables, as 10-15% of the global population lacks adequate access to energy. There may be reason for hope for triple gain by better distribution of energy, and by reducing the dependency on biofuels. Implementation of a number of SDGs is stagnating by poor delivery of energy, such as in WASH.
Another dimension is energy consumption in rural districts, that can be made more sustainable, not by just building big power plants, but by preceding such activities with more local and adapted measures to ensure stability in very different contexts. The cost of generated power and renewable energy may have fallen, but this does not necessarily benefit the under-privileged situations. Options are the development of fully independent small-scale local transmission grids away from national grids, for use as household lighting, mobile recharging, for school homework, food preservation, and medical cold chain. On the value of solar energy, NRC is showing huge savings even after considerable initial investments. The potential of solar energy is grossly underutilised, in particular in Africa. Addressing this challenge requires maintenance, micro-credit, user pay-as-you-go model, climate finance, and multi-partner trust funds. Fuel for cooking from wood harvesting is causing deforestation at a rapid scale, while solutions are there by appropriate cultivation close to the farm itself. Stepping stones are necessary to get to solutions, such as AI to reach rural and remote areas. Political issues include that central governments do not always like decentralisation, so it may be necessary to work with opposition groups without undermining national identities.
In conclusion, Speaker stated that energy helps but cannot stand alone. One good example is the Rural Solar Grandmothers project in which women produce solar panels and micro-grids in Madagascar, giving hope for the future. (Attachment)
KEYNOTE ADDRESS “Sustainability of Afghanistan Food Security Programme”
H.E. Prof. Yerlan Baidaulet, Director General, Islamic Organisation for Food Security (IOFS) showed a video on food security issues in the Central Asia region with initiatives by IOFS to ensure food security in IOFS member countries. IOFS will provide drinking water to Afghanistan for Ramadan. He expressed pride to be a partner to DIHAD and the will to compete in doing good! The focus is on the development of knowledge and sustainable agricultural practices, including vertical farming with Japanese technology. This year, about 28.3 million people in Afghanistan will need humanitarian assistance, but the forced suspension of NGO operations is bringing more risk and conditions for further deterioration into a full-scale humanitarian disaster. IOFS is entrusted to provide a food security programme for immediate response and also to bring clean drinking water to the rural areas. The essence of food security is key to eradicating hunger, and the goal of humanitarian food aid should be to enable food production in the long run and to build storage. Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are great supporters of Afghanistan’s agricultural programme, and have assisted in a platform to make improvements in the lives of those affected by food shortage.
Eradication of hunger is a noble cause, it is crucial to show mercy to all in need as their suffering is our suffering. To build new partnerships for the nexus water, energy and food security, IOFS convenes a high level panel session in Astana on 7 June. (Attachment Video)
The panel with the Children of DIHAD discussed how to use the outdoor environment to light up our life and to reduce non-renewable energy consumption. Suggestions included the use of solar energy, building sustainable housing, and control of the direction of natural lighting. Growing on rooftops to improve air quality, and supporting the ecosystem are important for the sustainability of our life.
SPECIAL SESSION “Green Entrepreneurship Rising”
Mr. Omar Christidis, CEO, Arabnet, moderated the interactive session on Green Entrepreneurship, which was under the auspices of DIHAD and Arabnet’s partner organisation SPARK. He pointed out that the green sector has the potential of creating over 24 million jobs between now and 2030, providing a welcome opportunity globally and in emerging markets. The panellists with a diversity of backgrounds would share their experience and challenges as well as best practices.
Mr. Omar Itani, Co-Founder and General Manager, FabricAID, explained how his green and social enterprise in Beirut had started by matching supplies with demands in clothing through charity to collect and distribute them to under-privileged families. In the Arab world about 25% of the people cannot afford clothing despite the large volume of wealth. He started with a donation for start-ups and created pop-ups in public schools. Now FabricAid has put in place a collection capacity with collection bins and partnerships for cleaning and sorting out second hand clothing in the Arab world, in refugee camps and slums, sold in stores at extremely affordable prices. A new hybrid model store “Second Base” sells more unique vintage clothing at higher but affordable cost.
As a sustainable company, it promotes upcycling brands which focuses on upcycling and using used materials into new merchandise such as bags made from second hand clothing. It also provides training to become professional tailors and has become a showcase of green / social entrepreneurship. Facing resource raising problems as a social enterprise, it has received funding from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs! He stressed the need to change financing approaches and invest in social entrepreneurs as they can solve a large range of social problems. (Attachment)
Panel on green entrepreneurship in an emerging market:
Ms. Aline Bussmann, Co-Director of CEWAS, an organisation specialising in water and green entrepreneurship in emerging markets, that provides technical support and investment opportunities to entrepreneurs who develop products and services in the environmental sector. They also work on market development and strengthening eco-entrepreneurship.
Mr. Allessandro Villa, Directorate General for International Partnership, European Commission, added information on market size.
Mr Murat Sungur Bursa, President, Sustainability Academy Turkey, focusing on motivational links with the private sector to promote acceleration of transformational process. In the context of the recent earthquake that hit his country, he called on all to get prepared for any disaster that could happen to minimise costs.
In the interactive debate, the following points were raised:
Green entrepreneurship is combining the best of two worlds of social / green and humanitarian side and the business world. Contextualised and efficiency solutions and process to minimise an environmental footprint. Sub-sectors include waste streams, circular economy with green components in many other sectors.
What makes companies green includes to make the process less complex to be greener investments, which entails the three pillars – to be ethical, environmental and economical – three EEs. Ethics for the current and next generations; environmental issues, and economical in the long term and as part of a circular scheme. The Academy has a programme for performance for greener investments, green hotels criteria such as air conditioning, waste food, recycling water etc. Accreditation is aiming at greener business, green check control s etc.
The key focus of the EC is on the green transition to ensure economies become climate friendly with a greater strategy, the Green Deal, with also making agriculture greener. The digital sector is important in the green transition and to make the EU taxonomy, a screening system for policymakers and companies to lead all support also for outside. The driver is the SDGs and the office is pushing its partners to follow this approach.
Question whether green is a contribution to emerging markets: It is super relevant to have green solutions and prevent pollution, also by seeing everyone as a potential client. Green space in emerging markets can provide opportunities in all decentralised resource recovery of different waste streams. It is particularly important in emerging markets and LDCs to convince them of the value of green revolution, where they have a chance to take the lead in business and not waiting for the mass industry.
We have to go green and there is no way back; the biggest opportunities are in emerging markets. Need to transform the old EU market even at high cost.
Policies have a role for the private sector, introducing circular economy as an advantage and not simply costly. There is a need to close the gap between green and the private sector’s access to finances.
Push – pull and attract: push is governance with regulations, laws and controls; pull is public can provide, and attract is the consumer who values greener business. Green criteria. Green entrepreneurs can provide where governments lack resources. Some regulations now are preventing green entrepreneurs to grow. EU provides capacity building to governments of third countries, connecting private sector with financial institutions and the public.
Comments from the Floor:
How to change consumer behaviour, e.g. on use of plastics? What to recommend to greener business to push forward? Setting clear targets, accompanying the move to a zero plastic society, providing all resources for society to move forward from old approaches. For Business to raise awareness is a challenge, may be a task for authorities. Plastics can be fully recovered if properly made.
The Session was enriched by an interactive “Quiz” involving both the panellists and the audience. The Quiz is attached. (Attachment)
H.E. Salma Al Qubaisi, President, Salma Al Qubaisi Holding, Leading Tech Investor, in her KEY NOTE ADDRESS, focused on how the UAE is progressing with the three pillars in green entrepreneurship “environment, social, and governance (ESG)“ to identify opportunities for growth. It concerns the process of wealth creation by reducing greenhouse gases emissions and water and environmental pollution to create a better world for the next generations. Conservation of energy, reduction of water use, reuse and recycling of waste are essential to achieve a sustainable economy. Policies and initiatives aim at building resilience and preparing for the impact of Climate Change, and to achieve low carbon public transportation. Close to 80% of Abu Dhabi power demand is generated from renewable power, including geothermal and solar energy. MASDAR is the fastest growing renewable energy provider. In line with the UAE Net Zero ambition, numerous energy partnerships and initiatives were listed, such as the Roots campaign, the green activities across generations; the Abu Dhabi sustainability week 2023; hosting the UNCTAD World Investment Forum in October, as well as COP28 in November. “We might not be able to save the earth in one day, but one step from each one of us can recover the planet from the wounds we have caused”. (Attachment)
The second panel addressed the issue of green entrepreneurship and access to finance, challenges, tips and best practices.
Mr. Tariq Sanad, CFO, Pure Harvest Smart Farms, introduced the tech-enabled agribusiness producing fresh fruits and vegetables consistently in one of world’s harshest climates. He mentioned the company had successfully raised so far USD 387 million, with a large grant from the UAE government. All depends on what stage your company is in: venture capital or venture debt, or the more traditional commercial lending. He also acquired funding as Sukuk out of necessity, issuing a bond, and proving a replicable box. Lessons Learned is an educating challenge with a clear story, proving there is a market willing to pay the price.
Ms. Lola Fernandez Flores, VentureSouq Dubai, set up a climate tech fund investing in early stage tech companies. This was one of the first impact funds globally and in the region, with focus on sustainability through climate fintech, adding another layer and allowing for impact measuring with multi-pronged approach and an impact measuring matrix. Some countries follow impact-based approaches.
Dr. Yannick du Pont, CEO, SPARK, is engaged in creating jobs for youth in digital agri- technology in over 15 countries – in fragile states trying to de-risk financial institutions by providing funding, e.g. in Libya where government funding is hardly accessible. Setting up a shared risk, e.g. through micro-financing and loan facilities. Providing de-risking as an incentive to start more financing. Investing in fragile markets is different from established markets by getting to scale with combination of size of market and objective, allowing for programmes on the ground. Gap and microfinancing start from Euro 5,000 initially.
Biggest operational challenges: educating on the sector trying to engage in with a clear story, even if the concept is hard to believe, proving it commercially viable, even on a smaller scale. Start small and replicate! Challenge for green investment is to maintain the core concept. Challenges include regulations and new rules to protect consumers; lack of technical and scientific talent willing to work for a regional company or in remote areas; green industry is facing many regulatory approvals, speed of replication and regulatory fragmentation; need to also consider LDCs and fragile environments as well as initiatives and smarter partnerships. There are a disconnect and challenges for enterprises ready for start-up and governments ready to stimulate them.
Untapped opportunities: a missed opportunity is the insufficient cooperation between sources of funding between development funders and private initiatives of technical companies. Although in the region sufficient liquidity is available, it is probably underused by the eco-system. What is needed is to build on the strength of energy space, and also to more closely cooperate between development actors and de-risking green ventures.
The IGNITE Conference to be held by SPARK in Amsterdam in early 2024 was announced.