Ethiopia, Mauritius and Spain honoured for promoting investment in Sustainable Development Goals

22 November 2017

UNCTAD honours best practice in promoting international investment by recognizing agencies from Ethiopia, Mauritius and Spain. Each agency has spurred private investment in developing countries that will boost economic activity and hasten the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Agencies from Ethiopia, Mauritius and Spain, received the 2017 United Nations Awards for Promoting Investment in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at UNCTAD’s Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission in Geneva, Switzerland.

“The award-winning agencies have demonstrated that leading inward and outward investment promotion agencies are acting proactively on the SDGs and achieving noteworthy results,” Mr. James Zhan, Director of Investment and Enterprise of UNCTAD, said at the awards ceremony. “Developing countries face an annual investment gap of US$2.5 trillion in SDG-oriented investment, and foreign direct investment can play a critical role in filling this shortfall.”

Award Winners

The agencies honoured were:

  • From Spain, COFIDES, which received the award for providing critical finance for the expansion and modernization of a coffee cultivation and processing project in Colombia that empowers hundreds of women farmers through purchase price premiums and the spread of sustainable farming practices. The finance and business support services provided by COFIDES enabled the participation of other development and microfinance institutions in the project, which is located in a former conflict zone and represents the first productive investment since the end of the conflict.

  • From Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Investment Commission, which was recognized for its instrumental role in facilitating the development of Hawassa Industrial Park as an eco-friendly textile and apparel facility with efficient use of water and energy, waste treatment, and renewable energy. The Commission also attracted high-quality investments to the park, which employs more than 12,000 people, over 80% of which are young women who can use onsite social facilities, including health care and education services.

  • From Mauritius, the Board of Investment of Mauritius, which won for its role in setting up, together with other government entities and the private sector, a smart city scheme and for its support to the large-scale Uniciti project that combines quality education, affordable housing, a business park and social services within a clean environment. Investment facilitation services by the Board of Investment, such as pre-policy clearance, fast-track arrangements and its one-stop-shop service, were key for attracting investors to Uniciti.

These awards, Mr. Zhan said, can help spur more efforts at the national and international levels to promote more quality investment in the SDGs.

The investment promotion awards have been presented annually since 2002 as part of UNCTAD’s investment promotion and facilitation programme to honour and disseminate best practices among investment promotion agencies and celebrate their achievements. The awards for 2017, 2018 and 2019 have been dedicated to promoting investment that contributes towards the SDGs in order to mainstream the goals into investment policies and promotion.

This year’s awards were presented on the first day of a week-long meeting of the Investment, Enterprise and Development Commission.

Opening the session, Ms. Isabelle Durant, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General, said that “the ambition of the 2030 Agenda [for Sustainable Development] is gigantic. It is enormous. It is for this reason that to achieve it we must mobilize, at all costs, financing – the numbers are dizzying if we want to achieve the entirety of the [Sustainable Development] Goals – and for that reason it is very important that we work on the manner in which we can galvanize investment.”

A high-level session of the commission will discuss best practice policies and further measures that can be taken to increase support to governments in mobilizing foreign direct investment for the SDGs. Discussions may also address the need for new policy frameworks that leverage science, technology and innovation for more inclusive and sustainable development, including in the context of UNCTAD's policy and technical cooperation work.