Opinion: Digital Access The Key to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Africa
Opportunity2030: The Standard Chartered SDG Investment Map reveals a $197 billion opportunity for private-sector investors in five high-growth markets in Africa to help achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with improving digital access making up $74.5 billion of that total.
The study highlights opportunities for investors to contribute to three infrastructure-focused goals between now and 2030: SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation, SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy and SDG 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure across emerging markets.
Across all the world’s emerging markets, Oportunity2030 identifies a $10 trillion opportunity for private sector investors. This represents around 40 per cent of the total funding required to meet specific indicators within the three SDGs – allowing for population growth as well as maintaining current access – with public funds expected to provide the bulk of the investment.
Five African countries are included in the study: Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda and Zambia. Key highlights include:
Providing universal digital access represents the greatest investment opportunity for the private sector by 2030 ($74.5 billion), followed by universal access to power ($65.8 billion), transport infrastructure ($46.4 billion) and access to clean water and sanitation ($10.3 billion)
The biggest single opportunity across the African markets in the study is in increasing digital access – a combination of mobile phone subscriptions rates and internet connectivity – in Nigeria (USD47.4 billion). Driven by its large and growing population, Nigeria also offers the greatest overall opportunity across the SDG indicators measured (a total of $114.2 billion), followed by Kenya (USD40 billion)
Zambia and Kenya present a big opportunity to make an impact on SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation): With an average of 43 per cent and 56 per cent of the population respectively currently lacking access to clean water and sanitation, there is a $0.7 billion and $2.3 billion private-sector investment opportunity to help close the gap by 2030
Uganda presents a meaningful opportunity to make an impact on SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy): with just 22 per cent of the population that have access to electricity, there is a USD6.1 billion private-sector investment opportunity to help achieve universal access by 2030
The greatest investment opportunity in Ghana is in achieving and maintaining universal access to electricity (a key SDG 7 indicator), representing a $7.8 billion private-sector opportunity
Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa & Middle East, Standard Chartered, said: “The UN Sustainable Development Goals are amongst the most ambitious projects humanity has ever attempted. As well as offering our best hope yet of tackling the world’s most serious challenges, they also offer a unique opportunity for the private sector. For the goals to be met in Africa, the private sector must play a central role in deploying capital to get projects off the ground. Opportunity2030 provides a map of these opportunities, revealing the sectors and markets where investors can best contribute to the SDGs whilst achieving sustainable returns.
“Currently, not enough capital is reaching the countries that need it the most. With the UN’s 2030 deadline for achieving SDGs just 10 years away, the time to act is now.”
With Standard Chartered’s experience and reach into Africa, the Bank uses banking knowledge, products and its unique footprint to fund sustainable development where it matters most.
In June 2019, we launched our first Sustainability Bond, raising EUR 500 million to fund projects aligned to the SDGs in emerging markets, and have worked with clients and partners to create a number of important landmark structured solutions to support the SDG’s.
The Bank has also launched its digital bank in nine markets in Africa, as part of the Bank’s digital transformation strategy for Africa. The digital banking solution provides Standard Chartered customers with affordable, fast and easily accessible banking services that is supporting financial inclusion in the markets.
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