CEO of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Leila Fourie, joined a high-level global panel at a UN virtual seminar held earlier this week to promote long-term investment in sustainable development, with a call for an international effort to address the Covid-19 crisis and keep the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on track.
It was held under the auspices of the Global Investors for Sustainable Development Alliance (GISD), the UN's first-of-its-kind grouping of 30 high-powered business leaders from all over the world.
Fourie called on governments to seize a unique opportunity to steer the long-term trajectory of economic recovery. “They have the opportunity to use their social voice for good.”
The multi-segment conference examined the transition from Covid-19 mitigation to recovery and the future of partnerships between development actors and the private sector.
“Africa is the home of the six fastest-growing economies, with GDP annual growth of about 3.4%,” African Development Bank vice president for regional development, integration and business delivery, Khaled Sherif, said. “We’re now looking at Africa growing at -1.7% this fiscal year at current trends.”
Sherif expressed caution about media reports on the relatively low number of Covid-19 cases in sub-Saharan Africa, pointing to gaps in testing and reporting. “It is the objective of the African Development Bank to help all of our 54 regional member countries address the challenges they are seeing today, put in place the necessary safety nets, make sure we help all of these economies recover, and that we don’t see a debt crisis and credit downgrades across our regional member countries.”
He expressed optimism that African countries, having fought off Ebola, would adapt to this new threat and that the bank would be part of an effective and unified multilateral crisis response.