Roundtable on Financing for Sustainable Development: Exploring the Global Public Investment Proposition in the South African Context

The Roundtable on Global Public Investment (GPI), hosted by African Monitor and Development Initiatives, brought together 30 participants from civil society organizations in South Africa, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, and across the continent. The one-day event aimed to explore shared strategies for mobilizing finance for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and identify opportunities for unlocking development finance through GPI. The conversations that took place at the initial roundtable in May serves as building blocks for the current conversation on financing the Just Energy Transition in South Africa and builds a case for Global Public Investment (GPI). The Just Energy Transition is an important conversation to have as South Africa is in the midst of an energy crisis that is impacting the economy.  

The discussions during the roundtable were marked by robust dialogue and a diversity of perspectives. Participants delved into various critical issues, including power imbalances, the challenges of corruption, the role of technology and innovation, the need for new financial systems, and the importance of socializing GPI principles. Key questions were raised, such as the effectiveness of financial resources in addressing complex challenges, the potential of blockchain and technology in finance, and the identification of mechanisms aligned with GPI principles. It is the midpoint to the Agenda 2030 and we are nowhere near where we should be in order to achieve the sustainable development Goals (SDGs). One of the major goals we are struggling with in South Africa and Africa as a whole is goal 13 – Climate Action. In South Africa, climate change has had a negative impact on the country’s economic growth. In the future, climate change is anticipated to continue to impede economic growth, energy generation, job creation and inequality. 

One of the significant outcomes of the first round of discussions was the recognition that existing international public architecture is not fit for purpose in the 21st-century context. Participants voiced their concerns about the perpetuation of power imbalances and the lack of consultation with the global South, leading to calls for radical changes in the governance of international public finance. The need to explore new financial systems and innovative financing mechanisms that prioritize the needs and priorities of developing countries, while addressing issues such as inequality and climate change, was also emphasized. The new forms of financing through GPI will provide South Africa with the necessary finances needed to ensure a smooth just energy transition. This transition to just energy will help ease the current energy crisis the country faces. 

The  importance of stakeholder mobilization and collaboration was highlighted. Participants stressed the need for engagement with various actors, including government, academia, think tanks, and grassroots organizations, to ensure a bottom-up approach and broad-based ownership of GPI initiatives. The involvement of diverse stakeholders was seen as crucial for cross-pollination of ideas, sharing of experiences, and generating practical solutions.

Furthermore, the roundtable underscored the significance of Africa’s role in advancing the GPI agenda. South Africa, as the host country, was identified as having a unique position to influence the GPI dialogue, given its presidency of BRICS, chairmanship of the G20, and influential role within the SADC and African Union Commission. Participants acknowledged the potential leverage and regional leadership South Africa can provide in driving the GPI-led agenda in both national and continental contexts.

The roundtable on GPI concluded with a shared commitment to continued dialogue, collaboration, and action. The outcomes of the roundtable laid the foundation for further engagements, emphasizing the need for inclusive decision-making processes, the exploration of innovative financing mechanisms, the integration of technology and blockchain, and the imperative of addressing corruption. The roundtable was seen as a starting point for a larger movement, with a shared agenda to mobilize stakeholders and create practical pathways towards sustainable development through GPI. The next steps involve ongoing stakeholder engagement, the development of research knowledge products, the establishment of partnerships, and the amplification of Africa’s voice on global platforms.


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