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UNDP & Invest India Introduced SDG Investor Map for India

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UNDP and Invest India launched the SDG Investor Map for India, laying out 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG (sustainable development goals) enabling sectors that can help India push the needle forward on sustainable development.

“India occupies a key role in determining the success of the SDGs, globally. Invest India is pleased to have partnered with UNDP India to develop the first-ever ‘SDG Investor Map for India’. This initiative is an instrumental stride in India’s development trajectory, and I believe it couldn’t have come at a better time. We hope our data-backed research and insights serve as useful blueprints to understand how best the SDG financing gap can be narrowed in India”, Deepak Bagla, CEO & MD, Invest India, said on the occasion.

The development pathways that India chooses will set an example for other emerging nations and determine the achievement of global environmental and social targets. It is thus critical to ensure that these pathways are sustainable, resilient and equitable.

However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the SDG Financing Gap has widened by an estimated $ 400 billion in developing countries, adding to the pre-Covid shortfall of $ 2-2.5 trillion per annum.

Whilst the government continues to show strong support for the SDGs and a sustainable recovery, mobilising this kind of capital and supporting the on-ground innovation needed to meet the SDG targets by 2030, requires the collective efforts of the public and private sector transition from short-term recovery to long-term sustainability.

This is where the SDG Investor Map for India comes in. By mapping the overlaps and gaps between public sector priorities and private sector interest, the SDG Investor Map lays out pathways that can bring together private-sector investment and public sector support for 6 SDG-enabling sectors including education, healthcare, agriculture & allied activities, financial services, renewable energy & alternatives and sustainable environment.

These sectors and the IOAs within them were selected through a rigorous analytical process that included extensive consultations with a number of major domestic and international investors, government stakeholders and think-tanks. This ensured that the Map’s findings were truly reflective of market sentiment, a UNDP statement said.

Of the 18 IOAs identified, 10 are already mature investable areas that have seen good Private Equity and Venture Capital activity, and feature companies that have been able to unlock scale and demonstrate profitability. The remaining eight IOAs are emerging opportunities, which have seen traction from early-stage investors.

The map has also identified eight White Spaces, which have seen investor interest and have the potential to grow into IOAs within a 5-6-year horizon. However, these require further policy support and private sector participation to mature into commercially attractive IOAs, UNDP said.

Nearly 50% of the shortlisted IOAs have historical investments that have yielded IRRs in excess of 20%. About 84% of the IOAs have investment timeframes ranging from the short term (less than 5 years) to the medium-term (between 5- 15 years).

The observations from the map present a strong case for investing in SDG enabling sectors and IOAs, bridging the gap between high-level development targets and the need for commercially viable returns, a UNDP press release said.

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