Development Co-operation Report 2016

The Sustainable Development Goals as Business Opportunities

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The face of development has changed, with diverse stakeholders involved – and implicated – in what are more and more seen as global and interlinked concerns. At the same time, there is an urgent need to mobilise unprecedented resources to achieve the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The private sector can be a powerful promotor of sustainable development. Companies provide jobs, infrastructure, innovation and social services, among others. Increasingly, investments in developing countries – even in the least developed countries – are seen as business opportunities, despite the risks involved. The public sector can leverage the private sector contribution, helping to manage risk and providing insights into effective policy and practice. Yet in order to set the right incentives, a better understanding is needed of the enabling factors, as well as the constraints, for businesses and investors interested in addressing sustainable development challenges.

The Development Co-operation Report 2016 explores the potential and challenges of investing in developing countries, in particular through social impact investment, blended finance and foreign direct investment. The report provides guidance on responsible business conduct and outlines the challenges in mobilising and measuring private finance to achieve the SDGs.  Throughout the report, practical examples illustrate how business is already promoting sustainable development and inclusive growth in developing countries. Part II of the report showcases the profiles and performance of development co-operation providers, and presents DAC statistics on official and private resource flows.  


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Spain’s strategy on economic growth recommends that Spanish Co-operation work with the private sector. The 2016 DAC Peer Review of Spain found that it has taken the first steps in its commitment to engaging the private sector in development co-operation. Spain has also developed new tools to engage the private sector in development co-operation. Tools include public-private partnerships, an innovation fund and a Development Promotion Fund (FONPRODE). To integrate the private sector more fully into the development co-operation system, Spain has recently set up a working group – which brings together representatives from ministries, the Spanish development co-operation agency (AECID) and civil society – as well as a business unit within the AECID. Also COFIDES, a joint state and privately owned company, provides medium and long‑term financial support for viable private direct investment projects in foreign countries, where there is a Spanish interest. COFIDES provides technical support to FONPRODE for the financial management of its reimbursable funds and at the same time is in charge of the funds that promote foreign investment with official support.

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