L-R: United Nations Resident Coordinator, Dr. Matthias Schmale; Vice President, Public Affairs Communication & Sustainability, The Coca-Cola Company, Africa, Ms. Patricia Obazuwa; MD/CEO Sterling Bank Plc, Mr. Abubakar Suleiman; CEO of Sterling One Foundation, Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe and Vice President and Head, Corporate and Government Relations, Olam at the premier edition of Africa Social Impact Summit held in Abuja.
The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Nigeria Mr. Matthias Schmale, has commended the Sterling One Foundation for creating a convening to accelerate growth towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals across Africa.
This was shared during the 2-day hybrid event held on July 13-14, 2022 in Abuja which had about 4,000 registered delegates from 55 countries.
Giving a keynote address at the event on the theme, ‘Rethink, Rebuild, Recover, Accelerating Growth for the SDGs’, Mr. Schmale noted that the theme was apt, timely, relevant, and required given the economic regression across Africa occasioned by the pandemic, the volatilities caused by the Ukraine war and the fact there was just 8 years to go before 2030.
He commended the leadership of the Sterling One Foundation stressing that there was need for intensive collaborations and partnerships among African leaders across the public and private sectors including the civil society groups to aid the achievement of not just the 2030 goals but also, the African Union’s 2063 goals.
Also speaking at the event, Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, CEO, Sterling One Foundation, noted that the summit had in-depth and insightful panel sessions on climate action, education access and funding, primary healthcare, youth and gender empowerment, impact investment and governance which all give a good appreciation of the 17 interlinked global goals.
She added that a recurring resolution that came through in all the panel sessions was the need for the elimination of silo executions and the embracing of collaborations by all sector players.
Financing strategies, impact measurement and evaluation of such impact were also discussed as
it was clear that the SDGs require financing to become a reality with an estimated amount of $1.3 trillion annually in Africa as shared by the UN and over $300 billion to block the gap in Nigeria.
“Various deals from 4 African countries were brought to the summit’s Deal Room with innovative solutions that cut across the education, health, construction, renewable energy, and food security sectors. Most of these businesses already have conditional commitments from our investors at the event and we expect to seal these deals in the coming weeks by working with the investees. We will continue facilitating financing for purpose and profit-driven business solutions that will help promote access to health and education for all while guaranteeing returns for impact investors locally and globally’’, she added.
She noted that the Foundation was already working with various partners and will continue in this light as the event was organized in partnership with the United Nations Global Compact Network Nigeria, Sterling Bank, the Coca-Cola Company, VFD Group, the Impact Investors Foundation, Giving.ng, the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center (NCIC), the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), Ventures Africa, Proshare and Tech Cabal.