GCF Sparks Dialogue on Social Impact Investments
The world as we know it is changing, and now more than ever, global connection is essential if we are to address today’s uncertain future – highlights Concordia, during the launch of its 10th Annual Summit.
One of the largest events on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, the Concordia Annual Summit provides a powerful platform for world leaders, executives, and changemakers to share their vision in an open, collaborative, and inclusive forum.
As a Programming Partner, the Global Citizen Forum shared the mainstage during Day 2 of the Summit which featured a session on Global Finance and Trade: The Power of Social Impact Investments for a Sustainable Future.
The session, which explored the relationship between foreign direct investment and social impact in small developing economies, featured GCF Founder and President Armand Arton, along with Prime Minister of Saint Kitts & Nevis, the Hon. Timothy Harris, leading economist and GCF Board Member, Mr. Nouriel Roubini, as well as the Minister of Sports, Heritage, and Culture of the Republic of Kenya, Mrs. Amina Mohamed.
“As part of the governance agenda of the GCF, we closely promote global governance, multilateralism, and public private partnership and strongly believe that in supporting the achievement of the SGDs, social impact investments have a very special place,” stated Arton.
“We live in very difficult year where mobility is probably at an all-time low for our generation. And that has had an impact in many states around the world,” he shared.
According to leading world economist, Nouriel Roubini, the solution to this disruption lies in the power of social impact investments, foreign direct investments (FDI) and citizenship by investment programs (CIP) which can significantly help foster economic prosperity and growth post-Covid-19.
Roubini further address how many emerging markets and small state economies have been profoundly affected by the pandemic in terms of collapsing tourism sectors, fragile health systems, social and political instability and unrest, and foreign debt resulting in economic dependence on the IMF.
“There needs to be an alternative that provides economic opportunity, welfare, and prosperity,” he stated.
“As island economies seek to improve their incomes, foreign direct investment from CIPs can prove to offer the funding and the support they need to survive, thrive and diversify their own economies, as they bring financial, managerial, and human capital in skills, which can be invested in sustainable and impact investing sectors,” he added.
One of the best examples of the power of social impact investments, is in fact seen in the smallest country on the hemisphere: Saint Kitts and Nevis.
The island’s Citizenship by investment program, which was legislated in 1984, has become the model of investment programs all over the world as the oldest CIP of its kind.
“Had it not been for this CIP, we would not have been able to respond as successfully as we have with respect to Covid-19,” shared the Hon. Timothy Harris.
“We were able to put just under US$50 million to support to our people directly affected by the pandemic and give them an opportunity to keep their heads above the water during a very difficult time.”
The Prime Minister continued by stating that “most of those resources came through the significant performance of the CIP.”
“When we begin to speak about the social impact of the CBI program – we lived it. In St. Kitts and Nevis, and other countries around the world, these social impact investments are critically important for the stability of our society and economy,” says Hon. Harris.
As the Minister of Sports, Heritage, and Culture of the Republic of Kenya, Mrs. Amina Mohamed was intrigued by the incredible potential these programs can play on both a regional, and international level.
“Many of our countries were affected disproportionally to the pandemic, and that is why it is important that as we move forward to develop different social impact investment programs. I’m very intrigued by the CIP, as the PM of St. Kitts has said, it has delivered, and it is a model that many of us need to look at,” she shares.
In Kenya, the disruption in the supply chains were significant, and Mrs. Mohamed discussed how she believes these programs can help support the reconstruction of these supply lines, as well as help the community.
“The pandemic has intensified the need to support social impact investments, the social economic needs of the world, and the call for investment models. As a result of the global consumer behavior, these social impact investments will be essential to spark innovation and plan for some shortfalls in the economy,” she added.
With the session coming to a close, it became evident that the pandemic signaled a renewed imperative for the international community to explore and adopt a wide range of impact investment tools and alternative financing solutions to sustain social impact.
“We need to create partnerships that respond to the volatility, unpredictability, and uncertainty caused by economic constrictions,” concluded Mrs. Mohamed, to which Arton added with a quote by the late Kofi Annan during the 2015 Global Citizen Forum:
“If you want to go fast, go alone. But if you want to go far, go together.”
Find out more about the Concordia Summit.