Virtual 2020 Accra SDGs Investment Fair
In July 2019, Ghana, together with other countries, presented its Voluntary National Review to showcase the state of implementation of the SDGs to the world at the High-Level Political Forum. The reports presented by the countries showed that progress had been made in implementing the SDGs. Ghana’s case was heralded as among the best. In less than a year, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world and has gravely impacted the socio-economic development of most countries.
From reversing progress on good health (SDG 3), its negative impact on 1.25 billion students (SDG 4) and the global impact on 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy (SDG 8), the pandemic is affecting vulnerable societies the most. Businesses and Enterprises have been brought to a halt as a result of logistical challenges, reduced opportunities to engage with investors and customers, a drop in demand for products and services, all culminating in a contraction of 5.2% and resulting in projected negative growth of 4.9%.
The 2020 Virtual Accra SDGs Investment Fair intends
- to provide a platform to explore new opportunities within the new normal
- identify innovative ways to access financial resources during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery
- share experiences relating to individual and corporate adaptability in the wake of Covid-19 and rebuilding momentum for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals
Regaining Momentum in SDGs Implementation during and post COVID-19.
The Path from Response to Recovery and Resilience, Socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the SDGs.
The Accra SDGs Investment Fair will be hosted on the Zoom platform from September 15 to 17, 2020.
SPEAKERS & MODERATORS
The Accra SDGs Investment Fair will bring together High-Level Government Officials, Community Facilitators, Investors, Civil Society, Entrepreneurs, Knowledge Institutions and other stakeholders to help develop a sustainable network for post-COVID-19 strategies that will support the government’s vision of a Ghana Beyond Aid.
Outline for the 3 days virtual event
Jerry Adjorlolo, Professional Master of Ceremony
The Path from Response to Recovery and Resilience
Speaker: Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister for Finance, Moderator: Jerry Adjorlolo, Professional Master of Ceremonies and Moderator
Regaining Momentum in SDGs Implementation during and post COVID-19
Speaker: Prof Gyan Baffour, Minister for Planning, Moderator: Jerry Adjorlolo, Professional Master of Ceremonies and Moderator
A post COVID-19 vision of sustainable enterprises
Speakers: Yofi Grant, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, GIPC, Kosi Yankey, Executive Director, National Board for Small Scale Industries NBSSI, Moderator: Mansa Ayisi-Okyere, Consultant, Enterprise Development. Read more...
Financing for Development and the New Normal
Speakers: Hamdiya Ismaila, General Manager at Venture Capital Trust Fund; Charles Boamah, Former Senior Vice President, AfDB, Moderator: Peter Akwaboah, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley. Read more...
The New Normal: Innovations in Education
Speaker: Dr. Charles Appeadu, Associate Professor, Department of Finance, University of Cincinnati, Moderator: Dr. Esi Ansah, Lecturer Department of Business Administration, Ashesi University (Human Resource Management Professional). Read more...
Goal 3: Telehealth & Telemedicine
Speakers: Prof Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, Orthopaedic Surgeon, FOCOS and Dr. Tony Boret, Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist, West Herts University Hospitals NHS Trust, Moderator: Yaw Asamoah, Director, FOCOS. Read more...
Adapting to the impact of COVID-19: Sharing stories and Best Practices
Speakers: Estelle Akofio-Sowah, West Africa Regional Manager, CSquared, Naomi Adjepong, Director of Operations, Alpha Beta Edudation Centres, Solomon Asamoah, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF), Jerry Adjorlolo, Managing Director - Domotale Africa, Moderator: Emmanuel Kofi Ennin, Public Policy Analyst
Country Financing Roadmaps
Speaker: Evans Asare Moderator: Emmanuel Kofi Ennin
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Pre-register now to join the exciting sessions from 15-17 September 2020
Socio-economic impact of COVID-19 on the SDGs
In 2015, Member States making up the United Nations approved the Sustainable Development Goals. These have been in place for five years now and already many nations are falling behind in meeting the set targets by 2030 as they grapple with many challenges. These challenges have been exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected all segments of the population and is particularly detrimental to vulnerable members of society i.e. the poor, the elderly, persons with disabilities and the youth; whose socio-economic situation have been worsened by the restrictions on movement, shrinking remittances and diminishing employment opportunities.
There are signs that the impacts of COVID-19 on the global economy will be much more devastating and long-lasting in comparison to those felt during the 2008- 2009 financial crisis. These expected impacts threaten the development prospects of less industrialized nations and their realization of the UN SDGs by 2030.
In this final decade for realizing the Sustainable Development Goals and in light of the yet unfolding economic and social impacts of the pandemic, it is important to have conversations on the potential impacts of the pandemic on the SDGs and take a multi-disciplinary and inclusive approach towards recovery and protecting the gains made in implementing the SDGs so far. The key objective of this session is to ascertain what can and should be done by developing countries to curb the socio economic impacts of the pandemic and safe guard the SDGs to ensure the targets are met by the 2030 deadline.
This session aims to understand
- The social and economic impact of COVID – 19 on the implementation of the SDGs.
- The SDGs that are at risk as more focus is shifted towards the health sector.
- How we safeguard progress already made in implementing the SDGs.
A post COVID-19 vision of sustainable enterprises
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognises the essential role that sustainable enterprises will play in the achievement of the set targets. The big question however remains, how will organisations generate business opportunities and value for their stakeholders while keeping a balance between economic, social and environmental development.
Prior to the (COVID-19) pandemic, organisations were working towards the realisation of sustainable enterprises and the creation of decent and productive employment. The disruption has however had far-reaching impact on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) around the world such as reduced production and reduced demand for non-essential goods and services. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 436 million enterprises worldwide, operate in the four economic sectors hardest hit by the crisis. These are manufacturing, accommodation and food services, wholesale and retail trade, and real estate and business sector activities. Together, these sectors account for more than 30 percent of Gross Domestic Product on average.
Ghana’s progress towards consolidating recent gains for growth and jobs has been halted by the COVID-19 outbreak. The sectors heavily affected include the hotel and hospitality industry, trade and industry, agriculture, health, transportation, manufacturing, real estates, financial and education. Households and businesses have equally been hard hit with significant job losses and reduced incomes.
Ghana in its quest to recover and build back better, has put in place the following building blocks for businesses and the economy; The COVID-19 National Trust Fund, which has so far received GH¢8.75 million and most likely be to be part of the SDG Financing architecture. The Coronavirus Alleviation Programme to mitigate the immediate impact of COVID-19 on business and household and to address the disruption in economic activities.
Objective of the Panel Discussion
The Panel Discussion on Sustainable Enterprises post COIVD-19 aims to:
- Discuss how these short-term measures impact the informal MSME sector and should be linked with longer-term resilience programmes for more sustainable post-COVID-19 recovery.
- Review the lack of regulatory, policy, and legislative structure to reach informal workers making it more challenging for governments to provide relief and restore basic livelihoods.
- The negative impacts of supply-chain disruptions and the resultant ignition of the innovative spirit of local Ghanaian businesses to produce to meet needs that hitherto were imported.
- The role of research in supporting policy responses during the crisis and in the post-crisis period.
Financing for Development and the New Normal
The adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) dramatically changed the global financing landscape with digital technology becoming a key aspect of the global financial systems. Again, there has been rapidly growing interest in sustainable investing, in part due to increased awareness of the impact of other non-economic risks on financial returns. However, as we began the decade of action, global challenges have multiplied.
This year has been hit with an unprecedented crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the loss of life and has also caused a rapid collapse in economic activity. The pandemic and the emergency measures put in place to control it have put public health systems under stress and caused the loss of livelihoods for millions of people around the world. The pandemic has also caused the world’s gross domestic product, foreign direct investment and remittances to drop to an estimated 4.9 per cent, 40 per cent, and 20 per cent, respectively for 2020. With investors said to have moved around about US$90 billion out of emerging markets and global growth projected by the IMF to fall to -3 per cent this year, the recession globally is much worse than during the 2008-09 financial crisis.
These fundamental global challenges, the economic downturn, coupled with the expected reduction in financing for implementing the SDGs have a debilitating impact on the realization of the Global Goals. Particularly, given that many countries were already falling behind in achieving the targets. We must therefore find more innovative ways to mobilize the required resources for implementing the SDGs within the ‘New Normal’. What instruments are available for financing the SDGs as countries focus on health financing? How do we ensure that no one is indeed left behind? How do we ensure the implementation of the Tenets of the AAAA within this period?
This session will aim to among others understand
- What steps are needed to mobilize additional financing for the SDGs without jeopardizing debt sustainability?
- What concrete policy options and financing tools are available to governments to achieve this aim?
- How recovery measures can be aligned with the SDGs to build a post-COVID-19 economy that is more resilient financial shocks.
The New Normal: Innovations in Education
A rebirth of the global educational system has been long overdue. With few exceptions, education is typically one of the last industries to make extensive change, utilising dated methods for learning and instruction.
The Covid-19 pandemic has battered educational systems in both developed and developing countries. According to UNICEF, about 1.5 billion students globally — close to 90% of all primary, secondary and tertiary learners — are no longer able to physically go to school. This has accelerated the educational revolution that began with the rise of education technology and digital transformation. Now, there are rapid, drastic changes to teaching, assessment, and even the make-up of classrooms.
The pandemic has also underscored how crucial it is for our populations to be digitally literate. In a world of social distancing, greater digitalization of services and digitally-centered communications are becoming the norm.
According to market intelligence firm HolonIQ, the higher education market is globally estimated at $2.2 Trillion (2019) and is projected to increase to $2.5 Trillion by 2025. The online degree 2 higher learning segment is only a small fraction – circa 2 % ($36 billion) – of the entire market . With universities and other education institutions forced to bring courses online, this market is ripe for disruption. Students’ appetites for online studies will likely continue to grow post COVID-19.
Despite the disruptions brought on by Covid-19, many new learnings, new perspectives, new trends to educational delivery, driven mainly by technology, continue to emerge. The Advanced Micro-Electronics, Inc. has identified 6 tech trends that will impact education delivery. These include; Cloud Computing, Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning, 3D Printing,Biometric Reading, Social Media. Widespread access to the Internet and competition among technology firms have accelerated technology innovations in the education sector. Hardware companies are producing devices customized to meet specific education needs. Ideas spread fast and people are able to research and tailor methods for specific uses in education delivery. The future of education certainly looks bright!
This discussion will focus on
- Facilitating Changes in Teaching and Learning Through Digitalisation.
- Building Resilient Education Systems for Equitable Development.
- Mobilising Financing for Education During and Post Covid-19.
Telehealth & Telemedicine
In December 2019, an outbreak of 2019-coronavirus (COVID-19) caused a substantial public health crisis in many parts of the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly transformed the healthcare systems around the world, with telemedicine, or virtual health, being one of the key features of this change.
Prior to the pandemic, the use of telemedicine and virtual means of administering care was on the increase. There were however some barriers to its growth in many developing countries, such as the lack of technology and in some cases the lack of comfort with telemedicine technologies by patients and providers alike, who are more accustomed with in-person care.
COVID-19 is transforming the telemedicine landscape at a speed not envisaged by many. With no vaccine or effective means of treating patients, social distancing and quarantine have been the only widely-available interventions, which creates a compelling reason for in-person care alternatives. Virtual health care is now increasingly being leveraged with enormous speed and scale, turning it into the future of the “front line” battle against not only the Covid-19 pandemic but also in the fight against other diseases.
The broader objective of this session is to discuss and share best practices and the latest developments in the telemedicine and tele-health landscape. The session will also be looking at:
- Outlining the ways in which technology and telemedicine can strengthen healthcare delivery, even in trying times like those of the current COVID-19 pandemic, so care can continue to be provided to those who need it most.
- What policy or structural changes need to take place to support physicians in the expeditious implementation of telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond?
A private sector-led COVID-19 Recovery scenario
Private sector involvement in humanitarian and health crises is not a new phenomenon. However, the impact of COVID-19 is on a much larger scale as compared to previous outbreaks and also not geographically isolated. This calls for a response that places public-private cooperation at its very core. Mitigating the worst effects of the pandemic can only be broken if the traditional way of working in silos is eliminated and Partnerships are forged.
Ghana’s economic development strategy recognises the private sector as the engine of growth. “The Business Tracker Survey conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), shows that COVID-19 has had a deep impact on Ghana’s private sector as firms are experiencing lower demand for their products, difficulties in accessing finance and sourcing inputs, and face an extended period of uncertainty. In spite of all this, the private sector has been able to help Government mobilise critical support from the business community by setting-up the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector in Fund to provide critical interventions to Ghanaians.
Government in its bid to lessen the impact of the pandemic on businesses put into effect the following tax mitigating measures:
- Extension of due dates for filling of tax returns from the standard four months to six months after end of the basis year; Grant of waiver of penalties on principal tax liabilities owed by taxpayers who redeem their outstanding liabilities by 30 June 2020.
- Waiver of VAT on donations of stock of equipment and goods for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Waiver of taxes on selected withdrawals from third-tier pension funds;
- Grant of deduction against income tax for private sector contributions and donations made toward addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Institution of an email filing and direct transfer payment system to allow taxpayers file and pay taxes with the various Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) offices remotely.
Covid-19 disruption presents an unprecedented, large-scale opportunity as well as an enormous responsibility to improve global business value chains from sourcing to harvesting, production to retail. Companies are repurposing their factories and leveraging on their comparative advantages and resources to help plug gaps in themedical supply chain. These opportunities position’s the private sector in a strategic role to shape the recovery process in a sustainable and equitable manner.
Objective of the Panel Discussion
- The panel discussion on a Private Sector led COVID recovery scenario aims to discuss.
- Leveraging digital technologies to enable businesses adapt and innovate Post COVID.
- How the Private Sector is contributing to the Pandemic-Recovery Financing?
- Creating synergies between Public and Private Sector for future pandemics.
- Innovative ways to build partnerships beyond COVID-19.
Transforming business strategies: aligning the digital to the physical world
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in China, in December 2019 begun a chain of events that effectively brought global economic growth to a near standstill, as countries imposed tight restrictions on movement of people and goods within and across borders. While traditional businesses closed up in order to protect human life and in response to ever changing government policies on COVID-19 prevention and spread, online businesses thrived as people sought to find what they needed remotely, via the internet. Media streaming services like Netflix saw their subscriptions surge during this time, with almost 16 million people creating accounts in the first three months of the year. Across the world, Fintech businesses have thrived as more people engage in online transactions. On the flipside, Prêt à Manger, the Sandwich chain has been looking at cutting 3,000 jobs, or more than a third of its workforce, as part of plans to save the struggling business because of the socio-economic impact of Covid-19.
About 8 months into the COVID-19 Pandemic, one of the most profound realisations is that businesses need to reinvent themselves in order to become relevant to consumers, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in readiness for the “new normal” that would have been created because of the debilitating and yet strangely transformational impact of the pandemic on our way of life, our economies and even our environment.
This session will seek to understand
- The extent of the transformation that has taken place in the business world since December 2019.
- The revolutionary means by which businesses have transformed themselves with technology.
- Best practices relating to the successful transition from traditional to non-traditional business models.
The Future of Work: Post COVID-19
The future of work is already here. Globalization, shifts in demography, rapidly changing technological advancement and innovations, climate change, geopolitical tensions and other mega-trends are having an unprecedented impact on jobs, skills and the employment landscape.
On one hand, technology and innovation create new and exciting opportunities for businesses to enhance productivity and improve performance by reducing errors, improving quality and speed, and in some cases, achieving outcomes that go beyond human capabilities. On the other hand, there is growing concern for governments, businesses and people, about the anticipated job losses resulting from automation and other changes brought by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and autonomous systems, as cognitive abilities and tasks once thought to be reserved for humans are increasingly being carried out by machines. The Covid-19 pandemic, initially thought of as a global health pandemic has swiftly metamorphosed into a social, economic and security crisis, leaving no country unscathed. As at March 2020, one third of humanity was under “lockdown.” By the end of April, nearly 1.6 billion workers were on the brink of losing their livelihood.
Undoubtedly, the pandemic has reset major work trends, becoming virtual, remote and global, rather than physical and local. Estimates suggest that as at early April, 2020, 62 percent of employed Americans worked from home during the crisis, compared with about 25 percent just a couple of years ago.
It is pretty obvious that the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digitization. Technology for videoconferencing and other forms of collaboration have been quickly deployed by organizations and embraced by the workforce. Remote teams and virtual meetings are taking centre stage. Also, long held assumptions about how work should be conducted and the role of the office space are being questioned.
What would the future of work look like after Covid-19? How do current employees position themselves in relevance to embrace this new normal?
According to Alex Sixt, a tech Entrepreneur, there are four things that will remain after Covid- 19.
- Remote working will likely become the norm for many businesses globally.
- Digital transformation will be accelerated. The role of technology will likely become even more important, as the future of work evolves. Employers and employees will need to adopt a digital mind-set to survive in the post Covid-19 world.
- Millennial takeover because they are tech-savvy and possess the ability to work remotely and flexibly, ready to adapt to a new way of work.
- A scalable workforce who are flexible enough to accommodate changes in the workplace and financial conditions that businesses will encounter in the future. The ability to reskill and upskill in this rapidly changing world is not only a necessity but an economic imperative.
This session will seek to examine
- How COVID-19 has impact the world of work.
- What the challenges of digitation transformation are and how we can address them.
- What the future looks like for the millions of people in the informal economy and how they can transition/be incorporated into the digital economy.
- The modifications that need to take place in the educational sector to ensure an adequately prepared workforce for the changing world of work.
- What is likely to happen to physical workplaces with the current shift to virtual workspaces.
Ministry of Finance, SDG Advisory Unit-Office of the President, Ministry of Planning, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) and Social Enterprise Ghana.