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OECD Secretary-General

International Business Forum

 

Remarks by Angel Gurría,

Secretary-General, OECD

14 July 2015

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

(As prepared for delivery)

 

Distinguished Panellists and Participants from the Business Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

The landscape of development finance has changed significantly since Monterrey in 2002 and Doha in 2008. There is now a clear understanding that the resource implications for the Sustainable Development Goals require not only scaled-up Official Development Assistance but also massive mobilisation of private investment and more effective domestic tax collection.

 

Today’s Business Forum confirmed the important role the private sector can play in contributing to development, particularly through its capacity for creativity, financial resources and ability to scale.  We know that, as drivers of growth, job creation and innovation, businesses are increasingly tapping into the growth opportunities of developing countries.

 

For example, foreign direct investment is rapidly expanding in developing countries, including in Africa, where it’s expected to reach USD 74 billion in 2015 compared to USD 63 billion in 2014. This is underpinned by increasing greenfield investments, diversifying away from mineral resources into consumer goods and services, due particularly to urbanisation and expanding middle classes.  Today, more than ever before, businesses all over the world see growth and opportunity in the developing world.

 

Coming from the inter-governmental public arena, we welcome very much the private sector’s interest and enthusiasm. We want to partner with business to explore how we can jointly help developing countries reach the upcoming Sustainable Development Goals.

 

At the OECD we believe that we can make an important contribution, as the Organisation can bring to bear its convening power, policy expertise, and good practices to benefit developing countries and at the same time be beneficial to businesses. We’ve recently initiated some innovative activities that are showing great promise.

 

World Economic Forum-OECD Redesigning Development Finance Initiative

 

First, the OECD and WEF are working on the Redesigning Development Finance Initiative (RDFI) which tries to understand better the opportunities for the public and private sectors to partner through blended finance activities. Out of roughly $275 trillion in global capital markets, only $1.7 trillion flows annually to developing countries, which are mainly the large Upper Middle Income Countries, due to risks, both real and perceived, and market inefficiencies. Blended finance offers an opportunity to mitigate risks and manage returns, with the potential to unlock vast capital flows to developing countries. For example, by investing EUR 2 billion in grants blended with loans and equity, last year the European Union unlocked close to EUR 40billion in investments for economic and social infrastructure.

 

Sustainable Development Investment Partnership

 

Second, I am pleased to announce that tomorrow the Sustainable Development Investment Partnership (SDIP) will be launched.  It is a concrete initiative by donors, development finance institutions, and the private sector to support developing countries in identifying and mitigating key investment risks, particularly in infrastructure.  The Partnership will bring key actors together at project level to test and pilot risk mitigation instruments and policies. The lessons learned would be distilled and shared with all members -- and the solutions identified can then be replicated and scaled up more broadly.  I am happy to see Jay Collins in the panel as Citibank is one of the key members of this partnership.

 

EMnet

 

Third, the OECD Development Centre’s EMnet —the Emerging Markets Network— initiative has created a valuable international dialogue platform bringing together policy makers and corporate business leaders operating in emerging markets to discuss OECD research of policy insights.  The upcoming EMnet Africa meeting will discuss the possible implications of Africa’s growing population and urbanization trends for business. 

 

Policy Framework for Investment

 

The Fourth activity relates to helping developing countries establish an integrated framework for their investment policies.  This is essential for attracting investment that will in turn catalyse jobs and innovation and propel local enterprises into global value chains. The OECD’s recently updated Policy Framework for Investment (or "PFI") is already used by over 30 emerging and developing economies as a key policy tool for spurring investment.

 

Total Official Support for Sustainable Development

 

Lastly, we are proposing a comprehensive statistical measurement framework called “total official support for sustainable development (TOSSD)” to monitor finance underpinning the SDGs.  In a nutshell, TOSSD would apply to the totality of international public finance extended to developing countries and multilateral institutions that mobilises additional resources in support of sustainable development.

 

The framework will cover in particular the activities of diverse financial intermediaries such as collective investment vehicles, impact investment and venture capital funds. By better measuring -- and thereby giving value to -- these flows, TOSSD could create incentives for increased investment at the same time that it fosters more transparency and learning across development actors about how finance can be catalysed and packaged.  And it could also contribute to follow-up monitoring of the SDG agenda.

 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, the OECD is committed to helping the public sector partner with the private sector in order to contribute to the welfare of developing countries.  We look forward to working with the business community to design better development policies for better lives.

 

Thank you.