Global Community Must Reassess Private Funding For Development To Achieve SDGs

Devex: Opinion: We had high hopes for private finance and the SDGs. Was our optimism unfounded?
Nancy Lee, visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development

“Many were optimistic when the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were launched in 2015 that the private sector — and domestic resource mobilization — would fund much of the investment needed to achieve these goals — especially as public aid flows stagnate. As 2018 begins, we would do well to reassess these optimistic projections for private finance for development, and ask are the ‘billions to trillions’ materializing? The data and trends to date are far from encouraging. … Many changes will be necessary, but I would highlight two as fundamental: First, greater risk tolerance and lowered expectations for risk-adjusted returns, and second, a major cultural shift to encourage collaboration rather than competition among the [multilateral development banks (MDBs)]. … Current data do not suggest that private investment of sufficient scale will emerge under the status quo, or that poor countries have a real chance to capture a larger share” (1/19).