May 2019
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Head of ECA represents the Regional Commissions in ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum first interactive discussion

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A regional platform approach could provide scalable financing for sustainable development, said Ms. Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa on behalf of the Regional Commissions in the first interactive discussion on “Navigating the headwinds and tailwinds: current global economic context and emerging trends” during the fourth ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum (UNHQ, 15-18 April 2019).

Noting that an estimated $1.5 trillion is needed in Asia and the Pacific and $680 billion in Africa annually to achieve the SDGs, according to calculations done at the regional level, she stressed the need to prioritize domestic resources mobilization, in addition to the efforts to mobilize foreign and private resources. Tackling illicit financial flows, reviewing the parameters of debt sustainability, better replenishing the Regional Development Banks and creating asset classes around infrastructure, health and education to crowd-in private financing were some of the action areas she proposed. She also spoke of the need to create different partnerships to meet the SDGs, such as on climate financing and decent work, and to empower women.

Ms. Songwe also highlighted regional efforts in facilitating regional trade agreements such as the new African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the recent Europe-Asia trade agreement. Such agreements represent a vote for more multilateralism and promote investments and growth, she said.

She also spoke of how digital technology can help economies leapfrog and mentioned that at the regional level the Commissions are examining and cross fertilizing South-South experiences on leapfrogging.

Finally, she highlighted the need for integrated approaches and further collaboration between Multilateral Development Banks and the United Nations in fragile and conflict contexts to reduce the magnitude of conflict, avoid contamination and achieve the SDGs.