Boosting Uganda’s Financing Potential: Innovative Solutions to Accelerate Delivery on the 2030 Agenda.

The Inaugural Uganda Annual Sustainable Development Goals Conference 2022 was a significant event that brought together various stakeholders to discuss the priorities an d financing of the SDGs in the post-COVID-19 era. Participants reflected on the impact of the pandemic on the Economic, Environmental, and Social pillars of Sustainable Development, and identified potential solutions for accelerating the achievement of the SDGs.

Discussions at the conference focused on changes in the global economies and the need for innovative financing to address financing gaps for global challenges. Participants highlighted the importance of diversifying sources of financing, including aid, private business financing, philanthropy, diaspora bonds, and other types of innovative financing. By leveraging these different financing sources, it would be possible to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs.

To address Uganda’s financing challenges, the conference explored solutions to bridge the gaps, such as improving technical capabilities for companies, refocusing financing towards the National Development Plan III (NDP III) and SDGs, and creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive. Initiatives to support the private sector, such as skilling programs for young people, were also discussed. Furthermore, the Private Sector, through the Private Sector SDG Platform spearheaded by the Private Sector Foundation Uganda, is an important stakeholder in Uganda’s SDG journey.

The private sector plays a crucial role in financing the SDGs, in the rollout of the Environmental Social Governance through the Purpose-Beyond-Profit initiatives. Therefore, enabling an environment for businesses to thrive is essential. The Government of Uganda encourages innovation, promotes the rule of law, enhances transparency, and reduces bureaucratic red tape to support the private sector’s contribution to the achievement of the SDGs. Skilling programs for young people such as the MTN Uganda Youth Skilling Program, the National Youth and Women Skilling Program, the Uganda Skills Development Project (USDP) implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development among other skilling Programs are empowering them to become entrepreneurs, create employment opportunities, protect the environment, contribute to social inclusion, boost economic growth and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Another initiative discussed during the First Uganda SDG Conference was on building more export processing zones which provide an ideal environment for businesses with various incentives, such as tax holidays, duty-free imports, and streamlined regulatory procedures, creating a conducive environment for increased investment and job creation, export promotion and import substitution.

Expanding the use of private equity to support the Private Sector in investing in the SDGs was also highlighted. Private equity is an investment made by a private individual or firm in a private or publicly traded company not listed on the stock exchange. This can be used to finance projects that contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

To effectively mobilise the private sector towards financing the SDGs, the Government of Uganda is creating an enabling environment supporting their operations, including skilling programs for young people, building more export processing zones, and expanding the use of private equity. By supporting the private sector, we are creating more jobs, increasing investment, and accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in Uganda.

Improving technical capability for companies was identified as a crucial solution to bridge Uganda’s financing challenges. Enhancing technical capabilities would enable companies to become more agile and adaptable to the rapidly changing business environment, ensuring competitiveness and better ability to meet today’s challenges.

The National Social Security Fund’s adoption of new technologies has increased transparency and accountability in its operations and helped to build trust and confidence among members. By encouraging companies and organizations to embrace new technologies, we can improve their operations and enhance their contribution to Sustainable Development.

During the First Uganda Annual Sustainable Development Goals Conference 2022, it was emphasized that expanding efficiency gains within the government is crucial to increase the fiscal space and find resources for financing the SDGs. The Government of Uganda has established the Budget Transparency and Accountability Strategy to enable allocate resources effectively, minimize wastage, and free up resources for investment in the SDGs. We are optimizing the use of existing resources, to create a larger fiscal space to finance the SDGs.

The mid-term review of the National Development Plan III (NDP III) was identified as an opportunity to refocus financing towards the NDP III and SDGs. This review assessed progress towards achieving the SDGs and identified areas that require priority and additional resources.

The Parish Development Model (PDM) was highlighted as a potential best practice in implementing the principle of Leave No One Behind and Reaching the Furthest First to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and end discrimination as summarized in the PDM goal, “to increase household incomes and improve quality of life of Ugandans with a specific focus on the total transformation of the subsistence households (both on-farm and off-farm, in rural and urban settings) into the money economy, as well as eradication of poverty and vulnerability in Uganda.” This model also seeks to empower local communities to participate in decision-making, identify and prioritize their own development needs. The links between the SDGs and the Parish Development Model were also emphasized during the session. The model aligns with several SDGs, including No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Good Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Clean Water and Sanitation, Affordable and Clean Energy, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Reduced Inequalities, Sustainable Cities and Communities, and Partnerships for the Goals. Therefore, adopting the Parish Development Model can accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs.

In conclusion, it is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the global economy and the counter-efforts have emphasized the need to accelerate progress towards achieving the SDGs. The Government of Uganda recognizes the importance of prioritizing financing and investing in innovative solutions that bridge financing gaps for global challenges to achieve these goals. As such, the Government of Uganda developed  the National Strategy for  Private Sector Development 2017/18-2021/22 that promotes investment, reduces bureaucracy, and creates a favorable business environment to enable the private sector, MDAs, Development Partners among other stakeholders to contribute to financing the SDGs.


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