The United Nations (UN) has estimated that the funding gap for building the infrastructure in developing countries required for achieving the SDGs is over one trillion dollars annually. Official Development Assistance (ODA), even during the record year of 2020, amounted to only 161 billion dollars. As agreed in Addis Ababa Action agenda, there needs to be a global partnership for funding the SDGs that is able to mobilize private sector financing. Both the United States and Finland have answered the call. As you know, in the United States, the Build Act established the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) in 2020. DFC has a broad mandate to work with the private sector on project finance in developing countries and a commitment authority of sixty billion dollars that can be leveraged to that effect. In Finland, the balance sheet of DFC’s sister institution, Finnfund, has nearly doubled since 2015. In the multilateral context, both countries have been strong supporters of strengthening the IFC.
As highlighted by the World Development Report 2021 “Data for Better Lives,” digital connectivity and responsible data use is today essential for development. Digital solutions are driving services and more efficient production in both the public and private sectors. Data is important for driving these digital solutions, evidence based policy making and holding governments to account. At the same time data can also be used to limit freedom through excessive government and corporate surveillance. Data can also be used by large corporations to dominate and distort the market. Governments need to adopt policies and laws as well as implement them in such a way that the benefits are maximized and negative aspects prevented.
The panel will discuss how development finance institutions like IFC, DFC and Finnfund can help mobilize private capital to bridge the infrastructure gap for achieving the SDGs, while at the same time making sure that the funding is supporting trusted connectivity and counteracting possible negative outcomes of the transition to a digital economy.
Senior Director for International Economics and Competitiveness
National Security Council
Vice President, Economics and Private Sector Development
International Finance Corporation
H.E. Ville Skinnari
Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade
Republic of Finland
Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
Former Senior Advisor on Strategic Engagement
United States Agency for International Development